I should warn you that I have been feeling a bit thoughtful lately. If you would like to skip over to see images from the exhibition, please click here to be redirected to the DRIFT page. You are also welcome to keep reading (I will put another link at the bottom of this page).
Preparing for an exhibition can feel a bit like a whirlwind or a marathon. It is a to-do-list count down to the opening: making sure everything is ready, having a plan about how to hang the work (sometimes I even build a tiny scale model with mini artworks to see how it could look), making a list of things to bring (painters tape, picture hooks, a hammer, level, pencil, eraser, labels, etc. etc.), designing a poster, walking around town asking shops if I can put the poster in their windows or community bulletin boards, ordering lettering for the front window, and the list goes on. I find myself filling with eager anticipation, and admittedly a bit of anxiety, as the countdown draws near.
If you google “how to make an art show” you will find a variety of approaches and lists for how to go about putting together an exhibition. Often these lists include helpful points, such as “make and install artworks”, or “hold an opening” and use words like “easy”, “successful” or “simple”. But something that these websites don’t mention is what happens afterword the exhibition is set up. They are missing the main point.
There is a huge variety of venues that hold exhibitions, but the one type I would like to highlight are “artist run centres” (arc). If you are not familiar with this term, it refers to welcoming and engaging, art focused, community spaces that are operated collectively by a group of working artists. These spaces are often multi-purpose, from exhibitions, art classes, artist studios and music venues. To exhibit at an arc means an opportunity to be in partnership with these artists, to become more personally involved in the operation of the exhibition, to spend meaningful time with the work and with people coming to see the exhibition.
I wasn’t sure howthis exhibition would unfold with this new world of restrictions. There are no more art openings. People in the gallery space were limited to 3 (myself included). Masked faces, hats and foggy glasses make it harder to immediately recognize people. Going out into the world takes more effort than it used to.
If you have known me for a while, you may have head me talk about how important you are to the activation of art. Much of an artist’s time can be spent on their own, in their studio, with their work. Artworks are an accumulation of decision making, time, thought, trying one thing and then trying another, processing, contemplation. Sometimes an artist may have created numerous other works before eventually making it to the final one. The one that represents the accumulative process. As long as that work is in the studio, behind closed doors, or carefully wrapped and stored away it is not alive. I believe that it is not activated until it is viewed by other people. When you go to a gallery and you are viewing an artwork, questioning what it is you see, what could the artist be trying to say, is there a meaning, does it make you feel uncomfortable, do you connect to it? Now there is an engagement. Now the art is activated.I am incredibly grateful to all of you who were able to come and see DRIFT. You activated my art.
I know that these are strange times, which made it even more meaningful to see you at the exhibition. Thank you for the effort to coming to see the show. Also, thank you to those of you who were not able to come but followed the exhibition online. Your support is very much valued and appreciated! When I mentioned that these “how to make an art show” lists are missing the main point. That main point is you! I am so glad to have this opportunity to show my work at an artist run centre because it meant I was able to see you, hear what you saw in the art and enjoy our conversations. Many of you I have known for years, and some of you I had the pleasure of meeting you for the first time. Thank you so much for coming!
After a few busy months preparing, sitting in the gallery over these past few weekends has been a welcome change of routine and, between people viewing the exhibition, an opportunity to quietly reflect and slow down. If you would like to view the exhibition on your computer or phone you can click here for photos, statements and a video of the work.
I would like to say a most heartfelt thank you to arc.hive artist run centre for hosting my exhibition, for being supportive, welcoming, helpful, encouraging and professional. It was a wonderful experience (and if you are an artist, I absolutely recommend sending your exhibition proposal to arc.hive)!
I would also like to say a special thank you to Meghan Krauss, a local photographer, visual artist and good friend, for documenting me in DRIFT (the images above). I also recommend checking out Meghan’s amazing art practice on her website here.