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.