Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Robert Genn Post and My comment

Two posts from me in one day?  Unheard of, I know.  But I'm all worked up about something and wanted any new visitors from Robert Genn's site to see the amazing variety of artwork possible with handmade paper (some of which was created in workshop settings).  Anyway, I welcome you and hope you'll look around!

Ok, back it up a bit...

Today in his weekly newsletter artist, and all-around-good-art-guy Robert Genn, responded to Tom Bennick, a paper artist who asked why his work, that was partially made in workshops, could not be included in a show.  It starts:

Recently, Tom Bennick of Mountain Home, Idaho wrote, "I'm a paper artist belonging to a small art group that puts on a couple of shows a year. Some of our members are adamant about not showing work that is done in a classroom. Much of my work is partly done in a workshop or class setting and because of this I'm not allowed to show. I completely understand that work needs to be juried, but what's this classroom thing all about?"

Robert's reply to the "What's this classroom thing all about?" was:

Tom, your exclusion from shows is a function of your group and not a reflection of your processes. You can urge change within your group--or you can get out and take your paper and equipment with you. If you still want to be a joiner, I'll bet there's another group who will welcome you. You may have to drive down US 20 to Boise. It's an unfortunate fact that some art clubs and guilds, including both big city and small town ones (Mountain Home, formerly Rattlesnake Station, has an Air Force base and population of 12,000) can be downright draconian and inhibiting, often loaded with outdated attitudes and shibboleths.

The enemy of growth is dogma. Groups should be classrooms of free energy and joy, where all flags may fly, and even sketches done in the back seat of a jet trainer may be juried "in."
Best regards,
Robert

Most of the comments so far are disagreeing with Robert on this one.  I think it is because they are primarily painters and fear that all students in a workshop will be painting the same still life and then the possibility crops up of having several of those paintings appear in a show.  What's more, the paintings will be in the style of the workshop teacher, not the painter.  I know this happens, especially as the whole copyright boundaries continue to blur.  I'm not denying that it can be a sticky issue. 

However, I felt that I had to speak up for all the papermakers out there and here is what I wrote in the comment section:

Please make note that Tom is a paper artist, not a painter. This means that he probably uses some fairly specific equipment in a workshop setting that, perhaps, is not available to him in his studio or home. Yes, workshops are teaching venues, but they are also opportunities to explore, share, stretch and do some great work. This is especially true in the paper arts where you can have 20 people in the workshop making paper but doing 20 completely different things with the result. We're not talking about a situation where all 20 participants are doing a pastel portrait of the same person.


Tom, I'd suggest you make your group aware of the type of workshops you are attending so that they understand the difference. Then, if your group is not amenable to change then the advice is good: find another group. For example, The Handmade Paper Guild, Kalamazoo, MI is one of only two Guilds in the country specific to handmade paper. We have not limited our two annual shows by excluding work done in a workshop. And, guess what? I've never seen two things at all similar or anything included that is sub par. Join our group! However, the commute for the monthly meetings, might be a bit tough!

Since pictures (although these aren't necessarily great pictures) are more telling than words, I'll get on with it.

by Lorrie Grainger Abdo


by Vicki Berglund

by Liz Faust

Setting up the recent show.

by Alice Breese


by Dale Menz

by Eve Reid

by Judy Finnegan


If you'd like to read the entire post by Robert Genn and learn more about his helpful and interesting newsletters go here.

If you'd like to read the post about the most recent Handmade Paper Guild exhibition, and see additional pictures, go here.

And, I'd be curious about your stance on this issue.  How do your groups handle it?

All the best.

Lorrie

1 comment:

BDL Palash said...

With the exception of the Whistler one at the end (that photo is very touching),
I'm more a fan of the originals and don't think they need to be reinterpreted.

Pictures to paintings
photos to paintings
photo to painting
picture to painting
painting from photo

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