Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Hangin' With the Food

Chicken Shed, 2006. Oil on Panel, 4x5

It felt rather strange not putting up a post yesterday. I meant to, but I had to leave the house early to spend the morning at the kid's school, helping first graders race each other while carrying a potato on a spoon or while holding a beach ball with a water noodle. In the afternoon, I had to fix up a second, temporary box for the chicks, who aren't so little and cute anymore. So for now the chickens have been divided into two separate boxes so that they have a bit more room. They should be in their chicken house soon, but Doug is still trying to finish that up. And despite the fact that I am now almost totally freaking out every day about how many paintings I need to complete within a month, I don't see how I will be able to get any time in the studio this week. For some unknown reason our school district is trying to torture us parents by having half days all this last week of school. That really throws a wrench in any kind of schedule. Then there are birthdays, parties, graduation (elementary school), talent shows and piles of school papers on every surface in the house that have to be sorted through. If I make it through this week, however, the kids are all off to their various day camps next week and I will really have to buckle down and get some work done.

Doug and I went to an opening Monday night at a local gallery that shows my work. It's a seasonal gallery, mostly because it is located in the oldest building in town, and therefore has no practical heating source. The Smithy-Pioneer Gallery is one of the first places that I showed in after we moved here and they have been really supportive of my work. It's a nonprofit organization, so the artists help out whenever possible. Each summer there are four member group shows, plus one fundraising event. The openings are always packed and many of us bring our kids who eat all of the chips and chase each other in the sculpture garden. I will be eternally grateful to Tara, the gallery director for not only giving me a chance, but for also including me in their listing in last year's Art in America Annual Guide to Museums, Galleries and Artists. I nearly fell over when I saw my name listed in the artist section.

At first I showed a number of small paintings in each show and I sold quite a few pieces. ("Chicken Shed", above, was the first painting that I sold there in 2004.) But this is a small community and I have now pretty much saturated it with my landscapes. Most of the people who are art buyers have already bought one or two or even several of my pieces. The tourists who come through the gallery look, but aren't really buying original art. So for this show I took over some larger and relatively expensive pieces, figuring, what the heck. I don't expect that they will sell, but perhaps I will be surprised. Anyway, it's always nice to walk into a gallery and see how my work has been hung. I enjoy seeing what kind of decisions others make about how to display my work and usually it is done very nicely and sometimes perfectly. This time, however, I wasn't so sure. The good news is that all three of my paintings were visible the minute a person walks in the door. The bad news is that they were hanging on the wall over the food. No one looks up at the art right in front of them when they are trying to get dip onto a cracker and into their mouth without dropping it. I know this because I tried. Doug though, ever the optimist, pointed out that after the opening, there will be no food and the work will be back in focus, to be seen by everyone who visits the gallery.

Hmmmm. We'll see.


KJ said...

I think it's good form to show larger, more expensive work along with your affordable sizes... let them know your range and perhaps they might be even more satisfied with a small piece for now. Now about all those school papers that parents are drowning in these days... there's gotta be a better way!KJ

The Epiphany Artist said...

Thank you Lord for Graduation! Now for college papers auuughh

Bart said...

Doesn't really sound like a big problem to me either, the placement of your paintings.
You never know anyway, hanging them in a different place or situation than most of the other paintings might even make them look interestingly different from the rest.

Have you thought about the colours on your newly build chicken shed yet? :-)
Doug (or you) still has to paint it I suppose?

Tracy said...

Karen- We keep the recyclers busy, that's for sure!

Terri - It's middle school papers for me to look forward to!

Bart- Are you kidding? What color to paint the exterior has been a topic at dinner every night for weeks! We have settled on a classic barn red, with white trim and I (yippee) will start scraping this weekend.

Ed Maskevich said...

The first time I found my name in the Art in America annual I felt the same way you did, still do. I used to hang most of the shows for our arts council. The strongest works went up front, near the front windows to catch the eyes of passer-bys. Larger strong pieces also went on the back wall to draw people deeper into the space. Everything else went on side walls. Middle School, have mercy, it's hormone time!

Shan said...

I have a love/hate relationship with food at openings. I love the food because it's usually pretty tasty and I hate it because it almost always pulls attention away from the art.

amber said...

wow congrats on your recognition

Ed Terpening said...

Good luck with your show! I love the piece shown, it "glows".

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