Kingston’s Juried Art Salon has historically been a venue to showcase the “best” work of regional and local artists and — as we’re blessed with many fine artists in this area — it has been the Salon’s intention to include as many of their works as space will allow. And that is a good thing.
As a juror it’s tempting to include everything that you like – everything that surprises you, intrigues you, amazes you with its technical virtuosity or engages you conceptually … And, yet, this can have its downside – and I speak here from the perspective of the viewer.
With thirty to forty artworks juxtaposed tightly within a space that is never, ever big enough, we, as an audience, are unable to see individual pieces clearly. To use a kitchen analogy: if you stir too many good things into a stew, nothing stands out – and no single ingredient can be appreciated.
With that perspective, we — Lindsay Fisher and I — chose works with the greatest of care. As artists, we’re both veterans of the application process and we value the time, effort and emotion that go into submitting to a juried exhibition.
Had we unlimited space, there could easily have been at least two, if not three, distinct exhibitions. In this case we focused on works that spoke to this region’s diversity of contemporary art practices and which prompted us to engage in their meaning.
Speaking on behalf of us both, Lindsay Fisher so well articulates our engagement regarding just a few of the pieces within this show – as follows:
“We were moved by notions of social disconnect, so well expressed in Rogalsky’s “Motivational Speaker.” In Derby’s “Fields along highway 51” and Corky’s, “It’s a brewin”, we are drawn to the repurposing of waste , as waste in these works is transformed into something that expresses a new vision. Hamelin’s “Red” seems to speak of our negation of the environment with a sense of humility and prayer, while ideas of feminism, motherhood and the changing shift in how we define what a family looks like are wonderfully echoed in Soudant’s “New Born Tapestry” and Foster’s “Daddy’s Pride and Joy”. Lastly, Montgomery’s “Smoker” and MacKinnon’s monumental “Dad” suspend a question in the room: “What do the multitude of lines that twist and travel along our skin tell us about life as art?”
It has been an honour to adjudicate this exhibition and to work with my co-juror, Lindsay, whose integrity and intelligence brought a depth of understanding and humility to the process.
Above all, my thanks to the participating artists who have made this exhibition what it is – allowing us insight into their creative processes, their thoughts and their motivation.
And last, but – not at all least -I bow to all the artists who submitted their artworks – many wonderful pieces which, although not presented here – are worthy works, nonetheless.
I thank the Kingston Arts Council for hosting this event, their art director, Greg Tilson, for his enthusiasm and for accommodating Lindsay and I, in opening the gallery to us for a few more hours, when we needed to further ruminate on our selections. Also, I applaud Ally Jacob, for her time and invaluable expertise in hanging this show.
I hope you will all celebrate the artists in this exhibition – and that these works will bring something to you, as they did to us.
and more… see the show!
Tett Centre for Creativity & Learning, 370 King St. W, Kingston.
Mondays to Saturdays from Noon-5pm
… until June 26th, 2015