Saturday, June 12, 2010


I have just returned from an exhibition opening at Territory Craft Gallery. Jasmin Jan, Andrea McKey and Cecily Willis are as inspiring as ever.

As I watched the crowds of well wishers and potential purchasers milling around the paintings, pottery and glass (and a few around the olives and cheese) I wondered what this was all about.

Where does the 'exhibition' sit with the ethics and ethos of the artist? Is it a commercial venture to help pay the bills and feed the starving children? Is it that the artist needs the public acclaim for their craft to be validated? Or is this mearly a social event where we can enjoy the pleasures of the company of others in an atmosphere of creativity?

As an artist who has exhibited from time to time in different media, I see exhibitions as hard work, setting me to a deadline I don't like to adhere to and generating a mental state of anguish that I could have well done without. Yet I continue to exhibit. So much for my masochistic tendencies.

But what of Jasmin, Andrea and Cecily. These artists are well known and respected members of the art community in Darwin (and elsewhere). Why do they and others like them exhibit? I can find any number of places where their art is presented and for sale. Do they really need to put themselves through the paces an exhibition demands.
There are some artists who choose never to exhibit in this sense. I'm reminded of the stories around Picasso who refused to even exhibit one of his paintings while he was alive. His sister used to sneak into his studio and steal the paintings for galleries to exhibit. Yet his own house was filled with his own piantings. It seems as if Pablo was content with his own appraisel and beconned input from no-one. There are a number of photographers who have resisted the path to 'exhibitionism' as well.
But many do. Hopefully, over the next 12 months I can get an incling of why.

Don't get me wrong: I love exhibitions. Other peoples. Maybe you can share with me, your thoughts on exhibitions and their function for you as an artist.


  1. Personally I am so glad and excited that there are other artists who make the effort to create exhibitions. Visiting Framed Gallery yesterday, I felt inspired by the works and artist statements of Judy Holding and Christian Clare Robertson - both in an artistic sense (giving me ideas about presentation or creation of my own work), and in a personal sense (of seeing the world differently). As an artist, the creation of an exhibition gives me a goal to work towards, which I find motivating. I also enjoy the process of thoroughly exploring a subject, and once again, I often only feel truly motivated to do this if I know the resulting works are going to be scrutinized by far greater minds than my own - ie. via an exhibition.
    One final thought on exhbitions... sometimes when gazing at art I feel that 'Zen' moment that also occurs when standing on mountain tops... a true connection with the greater universe. Is there any greater feeling?

  2. Thanks for the comments Tracey. That's exactly the sort of stuff I am looking for. Every artist who exhibits see's their own value in doing so. Part of this project is to find out what those values are.
    There is only one thing I can add that might be worth considering.
    As an avid exhibition 'groupy' (and it's not just for the cheese and biscuits) I can only wonder at the brilliance that sits in the cerebral cortex of these artists and how a mere mortal such as myself could ever achieve such skills. Scrutiny often comes from lesser minds who are strongly motivated and inspired by your work.