Thursday, May 23, 2013

Great Evening With the InterUrban ArtHouse

As I described in last week's post, a good critique can be valuable and energizing thing for an artist. 
Here's my presentation at the InterUrban ArtHouse's ArtMatters Critique Night.  My audience includes, L-R: fellow artists Lori Sohl, Dora Agbas, Adam Finkelston, and Nicole Emanuel. Nicole founded the InterUrban ArtHouse.
I deeply value the insights of a weekly gathering of artist friends which we simply call Art Group.  I also had an opportunity recently to participate in the first-ever ArtMatters Critique Night, conducted May 1, 2013 by the InterUrban ArtHouse in Overland Park, KS.

Elizabeth Berkshire's paintings are inspired by metal surfaces and rust textures. Her viewers, L-R, are sculptor Deron Dixon, JCCC's Larry Thomas, Lori, Dora, me, and Adam, as above.
This Critique Night was held at a quaint, small-group gathering place called the Vintage House, and artists went through a process of submitting samples of work and applying to be invited.
L-R: That's me (red sweater) lurking in the background, listening to Larry Thomas discussing Deron Dixon's sculptu.
Kelly Seward comments on Linda Jurkiewicz's artistic quilts.  Also visible L-R: Deron, Jerry Stogsdill, Larry, Alex Hamil, me, the quilter herself, and (far R) Nicole.
Linda Seiner discusses her torn-paper paintings, while Larry and Lori look on at R.
Alex Hamil answers a question about his work, while (L-R) Lori, Dora, and I look on. You can see some of Dora's work in the background at left and some of Elizabeth's in the background at right.
Ten of us were included in the first Critique Night, while two designated experts, Larry Thomas, chair of the Johnson County Community College Fine Arts Department, and Kelly Seward, Director of Business Programs for ArtsKC, took the lead in each discussion.  InterUrban ArtHouse founder Nicole Emanuel was originally planning to offer comments as well, but a scheduling difficulty kept her away until the latter part of the event.

I recognized the work of Alex and Linda, as having also been displayed at the Arti Gras show, which I blogged about in February.

IMAGE CREDITS: I owe a huge debt of gratitude to the InterUrban ArtHouse and its Facebook Page, and to the multi-talented Nick Carswell, for the photos used in this post.  THANK YOU!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Value of a Good Critique

In your creative life, how often do you seek out an honest and knowledgeable critique? 

Most artists are vulnerable creatures.  We make up new things out of assorted sources, imbue them with our personal vision, and then place them out into the harsh glare of an uncaring and often hypercritical world. To think of seeking a critique is always somewhat fraught with pain and fear.

I present my work to the group at the InterUrban ArtHouse's ArtMatters Critique Night on May 1, 2013 at the Vintage House in Overland Park, KS.

We do the best we can, but many times we just can’t figure out (or don’t realize we haven’t figured out) the Ultimate Best Possible Solution to the creative problem we have decided to tackle.

We can’t “see the forest for the trees,” because we are too close to the subject.  In my dog-show circuit days, we called that being “kennel blind”: you can see the problems with other people’s dogs, but you are blind to the problems in your own dogs.

Recently I have participated in several, extremely helpful critique sessions, focused on either my artwork or a science fiction novel I am writing. Different fields, different media, and from different sources. The photo above is from a notable recent evening (more to come).

But in each case I not only discovered solutions to problems I’d been having with the work in question—I  also became highly energized to leap back into the work with even more focus than before.  If you noticed I hadn’t been posting here recently, that is why.