Friday, April 16, 2010

The Importance of Art; A message for those who love to create!

I recently had the honor of being juried into the "SouthWorks 16th Annual National Art Exhibition" in Watkinsville, GA. Inside the exhibition program, I found an inspiring message from this year's juror, Catherine Fox, art critic for the Atlanta Journal for 27 years and now, co-founder and chief art critic, ArtxCriticATL.com.

The juror's statement is reprinted here for all my painter friends and for all those who appreciate and love the arts.

Reprinted with permission from Catherine Fox.


Juror: Catherine Fox

Juror's Statement

It is a fact that the arts are struggling. Schools have dropped programs. Governments have cut funding. The recession has organizations tightening belts and even closing doors. So it was more than heartening to see the avalanche of submissions for Southworks 2010.

Though it didn't make a juror's work easier, the turn-out was reassuring. Why? Because it means that the will to make art trumps the challenges. Because it means that art still has a place in individual hearts and in the community.

Photography and painting are the dominant genres in Southworks 2010, but sculpture, printmaking and crafts -wood, clay, textiles, mosaics-are well represented. In general, I was impressed by the high level of craftsmanship of all the submissions. It's good to see the value placed upon mastering one's medium and executing a project with care. (Artists: Please pass your knowledge to the next generation!)

Craftsmanship was the base line in my selections, followed by originality, distinctiveness, and expressiveness. Creative minds may honor long-standing traditions by giving them a contemporary tweak -- quilts depicting skyscrapers, say, or op-art mosaics-or finding new ways forward. There are artists in the show representing both camps.

It is clear that, for the artists in the show, making art is an act of pleasure. Many of the works express a deep feeling for nature in all its variety, be it a close-up of a summer bloom or a misty morning on in a Georgia marsh, a flock of sailboats in a harbor or a wild stallion grazing in a meadow. Others dwell in the realm of fantasy or the purely retinal pleasures of color and shape.

A life in the studio is rich and rewarding, but incomplete. To remake a Zen koan, a tree falling in a wood makes no sound if nobody is there to hear it. As the outpouring of entries suggests, artists want to share their art and be recognized for their achievement. Southworks 2010 is their opportunity, and yours.

I certainly have enjoyed my opportunity to share in this endeavor. Thanks for affirming that art matters, and that art will prevail.

Catherine Fox

Co-founder and chief art critic, ArtsCriticATL.com