Sunday, January 21, 2007

Day Seven - She Made Her Mark

Good Sunday Afternoon,

It's cold, raining, and the wind is blowing here in Sonora. I closed the blinds that look out on the garden to cut the heat loss. Beware, I'm on a rant.

I'm very frustrated today. I am in the process of reducing every image submitted to She Made Her Mark to the scale of one inch equals one foot.

I have provided one of my own very crappy keystoned images rather than disclose any images from SMHM. I have spent about two hours working on the first third of the image deck. The bad news is that photoshop work gets priced out at $35 per hour.

I've been closely cropping and sizing images. Many too many of the images are keystoned. I could use photoshop to correct all the keystoning as represented by the sample. That process distorts the image; it is an improper way to get a good image. That is not the curator's job; it's the artist's job.

If you are going to take your own digital images you need to carefully look in the image display on the back of your camera. Unless you intentionally built a trapezoid you better be able to see that each edge of the quilt is parallel with the window. If you don't have a tripod invest in one.

You need to learn how to closely crop an image and size it properly. File names are of necessity consistent. They should have your last name, height x width, (which is my fault, not in the prospectus), and resolution. Even if that is perfect I still have to rename the file to add your entrant's number; today I'm adding a notation that tells scale.

I am looking at a lot of work that would lose all consideration if a panel of three jurors were evaluating the images. One of the most exquisite works is nicely, closely cropped. However, the artist did not remove the vestiges of the garden in the background.

Anne Copeland and the FiberArts Connection of Southern California have worked very hard to create openings for beginning and emerging artists. Anne has proven time and again that the work of artists with unknown names is equal to or of greater quality than the work of names we know.

Now it's time for all of you to do your work on Google and find the online places that offer classes in everything from photography to photoshop elements. The information is out there; in many cases it costs nothing except self discipline to teach oneself. Quit depending on your children to do your computer work. If you are smart enough to create the quilts I'm looking at you are smart enough to teach yourself about your own computer.

The other issue that is really bothering me is one of scale. As you saw yesterday, The Quilters' Hall of Fame is a huge old house. The ceilings downstairs are ten feet high. Upstairs the ceilings are nine feet.

As I work my way through and scale these images so that each may be considered equally according to their size, image, and merit, I am concerned. I have already cut ten inch strips of foam core to mock up the walls. When I compare the scaled image on my monitor and the foam core I worry.

Many of these lovely works are very small scale. How do I arrange the exhibition so that the intimacy of these works is not lost in a huge space?

As artists do you ever consider how and where your work will be hung? Have you ever thought about scale? If not, it's time to put those issues into your thinking caps.

Sorry to be so harsh today. I set out to give you a good look at the curatorial process. Now you've seen the darker side. So, we need to charge up four hours today, two to photoshop. The woman hours are adding up. If you are a non profit there is no way you can fund an exhibition if you have to hire help.

Now, before anyone has a nervous breakdown, all these issues are mine to work out. This is going to be a knock out of an exhibition.

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Laura said...

Hi Thelma,
Thanks for blogging the curitorial process - I have had limited experience processing a show. It's very interesting and a bit scarey to see the nitty gritty stuff. Great lessons!
Laura Gawlinski

8:53 PM MST  
Cathy said...

I am appreciating all that you are doing as a curator. I am not taking part in this exhibit due to a broken pinky finger. I wish you all the best in finishing this judging process. I'm looking forward to viewing the works.

8:14 PM MST  
Terry said...

Thelma, you asked,
"As artists do you ever consider how and where your work will be hung? Have you ever thought about scale? If not, it's time to put those issues into your thinking caps."

I find this comment, in connection with this exhibit, quite disheartening. First of all, when I am familiar with the venue, yes I do think about how and where my work will be hanging. In this case, most of us are unfamiliar with the venue and have to trust the organizers of the show to set the the appropriate size requirements for the show. My piece is small. It is the smallest acceptable size for entry, however, since it is, according to the rules, an acceptable size, I entered in good faith and did not expect it would be viewed with such distain, on the basis of scale, by the juror. I do not know if size was the basis by which it was not accepted, but it does seem that it was a strike against it from the outset.

10:56 PM MST  
thelmasmith said...

Remember I characterized this day's post as a rant. Do not be disheartened. My rants are not personal.

At that point in time I was struggling in my mind with the images and the venue. Being publicly truthful about my angst is about me and is not meant to discount you. thelma

12:41 PM MST  

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