Changes; More about Jurying…

Your unfaithful blogmistress has been lax about posting ongoing events here…in part because I’m distracted by other things (lazy?) and in part because we on the Board have realized that it’s somewhat redundant.  Announcements are duplicated on the WAAM’s Facebook page, which is more immediate and easier to access, and on Twitter.  We’ve decided to make the blog serve a different purpose: to provide a place where subscribers can share and explore thoughts, opinions, interviews, and other stuff.  If  you have something to share, please share it here…anyone is welcome to write or comment on a post.  If you’d like to post something new, just email it to loelbarr@mac.com.  Please.  If no one submits, I’ll torture our readership with pictures of my grandbaby and kittens.  The other pages will continue with their usual offerings; be sure to check them out.

For now, I’m reposting a piece written some time ago about the jurying process, because the issue arises again and again.  We tend to be dismayed when our work is declined. Yep, I am also guilty of this, feeling the pangs of disappointment that the nasty word “rejection” calls up. Throwing a quiet fit, I swear I’ll never paint again.  But as a member of the Exhibition Committee, I’ve watched the process of jurying, watched the submissions and the pickups, seen the artists’ discouragement, and have developed a much more accepting attitude.  The tantrum passes in under 5 minutes. A new painting I was rather proud of was just declined, and the juror said “it simply didn’t fit with anything else.”  She was absolutely right.  She spoke of selecting artworks that created a conversation with one another so that the show flows.  It’s not a contest, not about which pieces are the best and worst. When you decorate a room in your home, you don’t put in everything you love…you choose elements that are in harmony.  Yes, it’s frustrating to create something outstanding that doesn’t fit in, but the resulting shows are beautiful in themselves.  Try to think of it as sacrificing the part in favor of the whole.

Here’s the earlier writing:

As artists, our egos are fairly fragile, and hardened as we may be against “rejection,” it always hurts a little.  Some of us react with anger, some with tears, some with a shrug and “try next time” attitude, and some swear we’re done with art altogether, or done with the WAAM.

It helps to have an understanding of the submission and jurying processes.  We have to remember that IT IS NOT PERSONAL.  The Exhibition Committee has worked hard to select unbiased and highly qualified, often prestigious jurors who are not members of our group, and it’s important to respect their vision and their decisions.  Something we, as individuals wanting our art to be viewed, tend to forget is that an exhibit is much more than simply a gathering of the “best” work hanging on walls…an exhibit is a work of art in itself, with the juror as the artist.  He or she attempts to create a cohesive and balanced show in which the pieces complement each other and show to their best advantage.  This means that many very worthy works simply don’t fit that vision and must reluctantly be put aside.  Often the same piece that is declined for one show will win an award at the next one…this has happened to me and to a number of other WAAM artists.

It’s very important to present your work at its best: be sure it is nicely framed and matted, that it  looks clean and professional.  If you can afford it, have it framed professionally, or at least make sure your mat is well-cut and not smudged, any nicks in the frame are touched up, the glass is polished, and that it is wired properly for hanging.

When your name is not on the Accepted list, the best attitude is the one of the shrug; trust your own judgment and if you’re proud of your work, bring it back next month.

Check out the “random interesting art stuff” for a most interesting article about the judging process, from Professional Artist magazine.



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4 replies

  1. I really enjoyed reading your article on the jurying process. Good insight , about things I never thought about.

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  2. Great post. And thanks for your validation of the jurying process–and I’m sorry I didn’t find a place for your work! I myself have on various occasions found myself in the position where concerns not immediately connected to the merits of my own work/case resulted in not being accepted to a conference panel, or not having a piece of writing published. It’s not fun, but you do need to learn to roll with it, and to keep your focus on what’s important: continuing to put your stuff out there.

    I’ll be addressing some of these questions in the talk I’ll be giving at WAAM on Oct. 30. (Still working on it at the moment, so I can’t guarantee the final content entirely.) I look forward to seeing everybody there!!

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    • Thank you, Beth. It was interesting and fun working with you. You created a beautiful show, and I’ve heard many many compliments on it, including compliments from folks whose work didn’t fit in. Great job, and we thank you so much for your time and expertise.

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  3. Good explanation of the juror’s dilemma and aim.

    Considering the amazing WAAM artists whose works may be “declined” (so much more accurate than “rejected”), I always feel that I’m in outstandingly fine company when my submission is not accepted in a show.

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