I'm on a committee that chooses artists to exhibit at our local public library (in an very nice gallery space)and sometime last fall ideas were being tossed about for the summer show, which is typically a curated, themed group exhibit. The themes are without exception (until now) geared towards realistic interpretation...recent examples are "Rural Landscapes" and "Our Town."
Well, at this meeting I found myself speaking up to request a theme that would focus less on concrete subject matter--one that would include abstract artists. All heads turned my way. And of course, someone had to ask, "why not an all abstraction show, with you as curator?"
So I am now finalizing details for the exhibit, Visiting Abstraction, which opens June 6th. I have never curated anything before, so this was an learning process. The first step was to find a focus for the show. The committee liked the idea of showing a range of abstract approaches, but that seemed to me a given since I planned to invite about 15 artists. How similar could they be, after all? In fairly short order I had a group of artists lined up --some I already knew, others suggested to me, working in both 2-D and 3-D, in a variety of media.
For a theme I decided to focus on how abstract artists express meaning in their work--where they get their ideas, how they interpret them. I'm hoping this will help inform the general public that abstraction is neither shallow, random doodling or simply pleasing design. I know, I know--this should probably be obvious in 2006. But I don't think it is, at least where I live. And since this show will be hung in the public library, the audience will be broad...there will be plenty of folks who will say "what is it?" or "I don't get it" or "my 5-year old could do that." I'm hoping, perhaps naively so, that whatever publicity is generated will provide a little Art Appreciation 101. And each artist is invited to write something that will offer a way of understanding what they're up to.
I'll be posting my curators statement on my website (under the "essays" section on my Artist page) if you're interested, and some photos of the show once it is up.