Tuesday, April 1, 2014
The March Critique and Conversation was held in the Germaine Marvel Building at the Maitland Art Center (210 W. Packwood Avenue, Maitland FL.) The lead panelist was Rebecca Sexton Larson who curates the exhibits in the Maitland Art Center. The guest for the evening was Gallerist Mindy Solomon who has just moved her gallery from Saint Petersburg to Miami. Each artist was given 15 minutes to show their work and get feedback. The critiques were ruthless and informative. The walls of the room were covered with crude mural art that will come down once renovations begin.
The first artist to show her work was Rima Jabbur who is a photo-realist painter. She used a projector to show her paintings. Mindy pointed out the sad truth that photo-realist work isn't in demand. Abstract work with calming colors is all the rage. There was much discussion on researching galleries. Finding the right gallery is as important as finding the right mate. Rima had one big break when she painted a black man in the pose of Manet's Olympia. A curator at the Louvre was putting together a show on how Manet's work has influenced artists, and he found Rima's painting on the internet. Because of that random internet search, her painting hung in the Louvre.
Jennifer Coop who is a graduate of my Alma matter, SVA, showed photos of her daughter playing hide and seek. Jennifer is a single mom and these artistic shots were essentially her baby album, documenting her daughters life. She explained that there was some angst in the work, but neither panelist saw that angst. The imagery was sinewy and playful. Mindy proclaimed the photos masturbatory and self serving. But from what I saw, they were quite lovely. Jennifer immediately left after her critique, so I never got to see the photos up close.
Martha Lent showed very large paintings of tropical landscapes and a vintage sailboat. Mindy suggested that Martha look for galleries in tourist areas where people might want to buy a painting to remember their trip. Key West was offered up as a possibility along with Charleston S.C. I found it sad that representational work seemed only worthy of being a tourist's keepsake.
Tony Corbitt showed some of his quick oil studies done on location. Tony is known for doing speed paintings of celebrity faces at events. Tony said, "Art isn't Art until it is sold, up until then it is an obsession and a storage problem." Mindy seemed to feel that his studies weren't detailed enough. A painting of cows in a barn was done primarily in sepia tones and white. She complained that all the whites seemed uniform. "There a million kinds of whites" she said. She complained about the dark frames he put the work in. "When in doubt use white or gold" she said referring to the frames. Tony works quickly from life considering the painting done when he leaves. She explained that Monet often returned to the same location at the same time of day so that he could capture the light. Every critique she threw at Tony's work could just as well relate to what I do. It would be nice to spend more time on each piece but what I'm documenting is usually over within two hours time. "Fast shouldn't be part of the vocabulary" she said. She gave me much food for thought.
Danielle DeGuglimo creates paintings that depict chaos, the urban blight that we endure for convenience. I had seen her painting inspired by the Gulf oil spill before. The imagery is surreal and a bit unsettling with grid planes to define the space. She works her paintings obsessively adding layer after layer of paint. She has started documenting each day's work with photos so she can see what she gained and lost in the course of each day. Mindy wanted to see a stronger center of interest. "Push things beyond normal perception" she said.
The last artist to show her work, I had mistaken for a journalist in the audience. Cat Snapp has just finished graduate school where she did print making, and now she is on the road to find her voice. Most of her pieces were small and jewel-like using bold black and white. A much larger piece was constructed of square wood block prints which were then sewn together like a quilt. The image was double sided with the bold black prints having a primal feeling, "They will suck the life out of you" was scrawled across one side of the piece. Mindy felt that the writing and the bold imagery were at odds. Other pieces also had poetic verse but the words were obscured and at times impossible to read. Art is seldom about camouflage and subterfuge. There was beauty and meaning in the writing so there was no reason to hide it. With my work, I never feel a sketch is complete until I've written about the experience.