An invitational or juried art show happens when an art entity chooses a known artist to select submitted artwork, these days via e-mail, from other artists around the country. These electronic submissions are chosen with no context or point of reference for either the piece or the submitting artist. The chosen works make up the show and the known artist then juries the show and awards winners.
For a judging artist, problems occur. As a past judge myself, I can say that nearly 30% of a selected show is a bust. Many works simply look better on a computer screen than in real life. Sometimes the piece is fine but the presentation is abominable. A horrible frame or poorly made canvas can ruin the actual work. Sometimes the artist has altered the image with some slick computer play and the actual work arrives and looks simply dreadful.
Such is the case with the Abstract National Exhibition at Mark Arts. Juror Jerry McLaughlin of Oakland, California is a great artist and he did a great job with the exhibition. And Mark Arts is a gorgeous space. And there are many great works in this show. And the show’s winning artist is more than deserving. But the sub-standard works in the show nearly drive a knife through its heart. It makes me sad for the juror and the artists in the exhibition who are fully in touch with what the word “quality” really means.
But still, I do think that 70% of the show is so good that it’s worth your full attention.
The Abstract National Exhibition is on view at Mark Arts through July 7th.