I wanted to share some thoughts after my print show opened last night at the Artichoke Gallery, because I feel that the exhibition experience is a very important part of being an artist. I value the opportunity given to me through an exhibition of my work. Not only is it a chance to showcase some of my portfolio, and talk about what the work means to me, or the process I use in creating it, but it offers me the opportunity to see if the work connects to the viewer. To me this connection is the most important aspect of the finished print as it hangs on the gallery wall, presented neatly in a frame made of blonde wood. The goal of the connection is to cause the viewer at least a little bit of pause over an image. As their eyes peruse the entire wall of work, the connection is a sudden tug that makes it hard to move on to the next piece. The peak of connection, I believe, is when the viewer decides to purchase the print and take it home. It has become part of them as it has for myself in making it, something intimate and lifelong, something cherished. The purchaser and myself form a bond. It is an interesting dynamic when people value what comes from your brain. I am completely humbled each time a connection is made, whether it is a passing stutter, or a sold sticker underneath the piece.
Also, attending an opening of my work, awards me the opportunity to hear all the unintended things that the viewers see in my prints. As I’ve written about before, my work is an automatic process. It takes from observation, but doesn’t have a predetermined image or concept. It is a series of marks put together to create an image which is intended to spark some sense of familiarity, creativity and imagination within the viewer. It is intended to make a connection. What I’m saying is that there are no wrong answers when it comes to analyzing my work. All of my prints are intended to be personal to you. The greatest part about this personalization is when multiple viewers see different things and discuss their findings together. Now they have made a connection with the work, and each other. Also interesting is when a viewer tells me what they see. Last night I was told that there was a woman’s head with her hair twisting upward in “Atmoshere”, an etching. I did not intend the element to be the head of a woman, but the power of persuasion has made it impossible for me not to see it.
Can you see the woman’s head? I won’t say where it is at first.
Did you see it?
Now, what if I say that the woman’s head with her hair twisting up is near the bottom left corner of the print.
Did you see it now?
I can’t help but notice it, which means that I have made a brand new connection with this work as well!
Last night was a fantastic experience, and I want to thank everyone for coming out and taking the time from their days. Hopefully you made at least a fraction of the immense connection I made.
Any other views on this connection to a work of art?
Copyright © 2011 by Drew Kail