thoughts on annual juried exhibitions

Here is a photo of Gregory Gilbert (in front of “Beam in One’s Eye” by Jackie Tice) while he was in the Museum selecting awards as juror of the Annual Wabash Valley Exhibition.

I am often asked to compare this juried Exhibition from one year to the next and I find myself at a loss. Other people perceive a difference that I don’t, at first. My immediate thought is that the exhibitions really aren’t that dissimilar from year to year. Most have a parallel eclectic mix of works. However there is often a discernible unique flavor reflecting the juror’s sensibilities each year.  It takes time in the presence of the works of art for me to get a feel for what the judge was drawn to. Once I begin my attempts to organize the exhibition, particular visual qualities and thematic contents start to make themselves apparent. Understanding the choices and designing the exhibition takes a lot of standing and staring. Sometimes sitting in a corner and just looking from one to another, looking at a whole wall, looking at the room. Looking.

This year, I’d have to say, is quirky. Mr. Gilbert said among other things that he was “drawn to works that contain a kind of creative dichotomy within themselves… the visual means of creation is at odds with the formal structure or the signifying content of the piece. This quality reflects one of the more challenging purposes of the visual arts, which is to upset and complicate our perceptions and conceptual assumptions regarding the visual and social world. “

If you have seen the show, or plan to, tell us what you think by commenting on this blog. And don’t forget to add your vote for the People’s Choice award!