Friday, September 11, 2009

The end of the art holiday exhibition

The Vollisos Exhibition - 12th May 1995

I've hung exhibitions all over the world......just not in galleries!

My speciality is being able to hang exhibitions of 30-40 pieces from scratch in under two hours on bare walls in studios, hotels, restaurants and meeting rooms!

I've always had an itch to create exhibitions - I find it a challenge to my visual aesthetics a bit akin to creating an artwork. Watercolour artist Paul Riley (UK readers of The Artist will be familar with his articles) usually closed his overseas courses with an exhibition, so when I was on one of them I invariably offered to hang the exhibition.

Yesterday, I came across this photograph of me hanging an exhibition of paintings in the local village bar in Vollisos, a village on the greek island of Chios. I was getting LOTS of help from some very acute art critics - mostly aged under 10. There are also a couple of works up on the wall in the photo which now appear in watercolour painting instruction books such as Paul Riley's Watercolour Workshop!

The end of course review - the art holiday exhibition

Most art holidays have a review of people's work at the end. One way of doing this is to sit in a room with people displaying examples of their work one by one. It can be very interesting but I've also known it to be very tedious depending on the tutor.

Personally, I've always found that a review has much more impact when an exhibition is created of people's work. Plus it can also make for a much more interesting and valuable crit session.

People who have made good progress on a course can occasionally be a little reluctant to having their work hung if they're new to having their work reviewed in this way, Mostly they say that they really don't think it's good enough. However, one of the reasons I'm personally a huge advocate of such exhibitions is that I've seen how it's possible to improve people's perception of their own work. Rather than hanging each individual's work together, I typically used to hang artwork in groups which focused on a similar subject and, failing that, in colour themes - because that's the way work looked best to me. Invariably everybody's work always looked good - even if I say so myself! Thankfully, that was also the comment which others made too. It was also very interesting to hear what people who had not been involved in the sourse had to say - which was usually very positive.

To my mind it's very much like the way an artist with a solo exhibition can have a major visual impact when showing a series of works with the same theme.

I used to observe that fellow students who had been nervous about showing their work became much more confident about their abilities after seeing how their work looked on a wall and hearing what others had to say about it. Some even told me that they were now motivated to start entering exhibitions!

Over to you:
  • What sort of reviews have you experienced?
  • What do you think works well?

PS Don't forget to enter the "Little Break to Brussels" competition!

Making a Mark reviews......


1 comment:

vivien said...

classes in the first year of an art degree tended to end with work up on the wall - group crit - then tutor crit - very intimidating at first but so useful. Really interesting to see the different approaches to the topic in hand and to hear the ideas/concepts/techniques/realisation discussed.

Later these were done less frequently but in increasing depth.

Each term ended with an exhibition for marking. We all had allocated spaces for our 'solos'. Again useful practice.

Since then I've done numerous shows with friends - looking at the work once it's up is extremely satisfying.

Though I have to admit I love handing work over to a commercial gallery and letting them do the work!

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