Interior Artisans is the annual Juried Arts and Artisans Exhibition of Interior Alaska. This years Juror, Don Decker our of Anchorage, considered technical and creative merit of artwork from the categories listed: Wood, Ivory, Clay, Glass, Metal, Stone, Fiber and Skins.
I very carefully considered all entries into the exhibit, and I appreciated the effort and the heart that went into the creation of each one. The argument could be made that all entries should be included, but that is not the intent of juried exhibitions and it is not in keeping with the assignment given this, or any, juror.
I looked for elements of innovation and imagination: the avoidance of clichés. I wanted to know what the artist had to say: political or personal, social, in humor or metaphor. Art is about ideas.
Craftsmanship and presentation are important: skill, attention to detail, workmanship, and evidence of pride in the construction. I considered whether the choice of materials suited the subject matter or intent, whether there were unresolved technical problems, and if sculpture bases, fasteners and containers were appropriately considered by the artist.
I looked to see if design elements were utilized effectively. If traditional “rules” of design were broken, was it with purpose or effectiveness. A basic consideration is whether or not the visual impact is esthetically appealing. I wanted to see if the work provoked a positive “gut reaction” that held up under close scrutiny.
The purpose of art is to uplift us, to add some element of heart or soul to our human existence, to express an idea or ideal that resonates with us as living beings. I looked for that human touch: the sensitivity to form, the choice of color, and the traces of a human hand across a surface.
Almost anything goes in our postmodern art world, and I appreciated the range of materials, techniques and styles. From the sensitive choice of subtle colors for a weaving, to the meticulous refining of silver and stone, to beading and sewing and sanding, the mark of an artist is apparent in these pieces.
So, keep the faith. Keep working and with pride. Thank you for letting me be a part of your art community if for only a day.