It’s open season again


It’s open season again.  Admittedly there are open selection shows throughout the year but it’s more of an annual or biannual event for me to think about entering and when I do, I end up applying for a few.

So right now I’m trying to conjure up a way of looking at my work to decide what I want to send in and this is dependant on a set of choices that are as much based on fantasy as fact. 

Some of the thoughts that I’ve been having about my work are embedded in these questions, good and bad.  I’ve been back and forth recently trying to think about all the way that I’m responding to drawing.  There are the collaborative practices staged in galleries, my perspective drawings in numbered series and the most recent set of drawings, which are so purely about the surface and the quality of the type of line that I make that what I’ve drawn seems random, a consequence of certain constraints that happened during six weeks in my life.

I start to sort through my drawings and objects like I’m packing for a journey.  I love this, this goes with everything, well I may go out to that sort of place, and do I like this? Is it good? Is it ready?  Depending on whether they want 10 to 20 slides or 2 – 3, I may have to start again.

And also the fictions – the ones that have nothing to do with my own work and everything to do with a game that you’re making up on your own, with rules that chances are nobody follows.  What have they shown before, didn’t that curator have xx show last month, didn’t that selector write about xxx in xxx in the spring?

Do I go big for impact imagining that this work is reviewed 3 metres away by a line of freelance art handlers? Or is this a table selection, hundreds of photographs in dissimilar sizes and formats spread on the table with the chosen choosers quickly sorting between yes and no and again and again.

I’ve left it to the last moment a few too many times, work photographed hastily in bad light, dropping it off on the day to bored interns.  Other times I was punctual, typing in tiny fonts titles, mediums and sizes and printing them out centered on sticky labels that I pushed onto the back of prints or slides.

Looking back, I think success is about a 50/50 split.  Later, my faith in my work doesn’t depend on whether my work is selected, there’s so much in chance, of moment, of bias and nepotism and in interests.  But in the here and now, I get a buzz from the activity, the quickening in my blood, the haste that pushes my work and makes me cut through a little of my own artist BS.