Thursday, August 19, 2010
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On July 31st BEET GALLERY in Portland, Oregon closed it's doors. After waiting 2 years for a solo show that should have been in October, I had the opportunity to be part of a two person show the first 2 weeks of July. I was glad for the opportunity to show in this gallery even for a short period of time and to get a little better acquainted with Sandy Japel, the owner. It was a solid show for me and a good way for my work to be seen by a different clientele other than the outdoor crafts market venue in which I have participated in the past....ART IN THE PEARL and the now discontinued ROSE ART FESTIVAL.
This is a difficult economic time for galleries and artists. It's hard to watch so many galleries struggling and some succumbing to the strain.....having to close their doors. For me it means a time to dig in....tighten the belt...try to keep the creative juices flowing even when work does not sell as quickly as it used to. Throughout history artists continue to make art in difficult times.... the strain informs the art and makes an appearance on the canvas or in the sculpture and certainly in the poem. I also think that the challenging economy gives us (artists) an opportunity to seek out a new model....a new way to present our work....having to look beyond our comfort zone. This past year I felt compelled to get off the road and not do the outdoor craft show market anymore. The risks started seeming too great...large booth fees....having to travel further and further from home base....crazy weather patterns, etc. Having done the outdoor craft market for almost 20 years I have many times felt like a compulsive gambler....hoping the next show will help pay for the last show. It can be a crazy making environment. I also have to say that in that same 20 years I have had my share of really incredible shows....but those successes seems few and far between these days.
Seeing my boxes on the wall at Beet brought some things to the surface that I've been feeling for a long time. Mostly it stirred up in me the feeling that I would like to step up to a new level with my work... possibly stepping out of the craft market and into a fine art venue with the boxes. That would require, on my part, work that is somewhat larger, bolder and one of a kind. In the past I have been making limited edition pieces but that won't fly in a fine art venue. It is possible that I would still have limited edition work in craft galleries. While in Portland I went around to five of the blue chip fine art galleries with my dear friend and fellow artist, Lin Haak. She is always encouraging me to be bold and to step up. I just wanted to walk into these spaces and try them on for size and fit and see if I could imagine my work hanging on their walls. I am often intimidated by fine art galleries. I was surprised to find that I felt comfortable in the spaces and can now have a visual image of carrying my work through the front doors into my top pick of the five. Once I have a new body of work built up I will begin the process of finding a good fit for myself. This is an exciting time for me....challenging, yes....but there are some good things waiting just around the corner. My work now is to just keep showing up ....for me....for my art....for my life.