On Saturday I was given the privilege of a one hour crit with British artist, Graham Crowley. This much-needed and very welcome initiative came curtesy of Core Gallery, and Rosalind Davis.
Wow, it is seven years since I had a one-to-one crit, with someone who is prepared to look at your work and tell you, honestly, what they see.
I am a great believer in the peer critique, where a group of artists get together and discuss their work. indeed, I ran one called: Talk About The Work at Claremont Studios, Hastings for three years. And it was a great success.
However, the one-to-one crit with an ‘art-elder’ is something else. Something unique. It is a conversation between two people. And when it works one achieves a momentary intimacy and connectivity, relating to one’s own work, that is a rare and wonderful thing. Indeed, the connections, sparks, observations, book recommendations [and temporary euphoria] that arrived out of that hour will nourish me for a long while yet.
Overall, the experience was painful but postively liberating. I now feel energised.
And today, after months of considering: how to emerge? while in actual fact often thinking: what is the point?
I did some things that I didn’t know I wanted to do:
I applied for a new open
I sent off an initial-proposal for co-curating an exhibition I have been thinking about for ages
I said ‘yes’ to giving work to an Xmas Charity auction at WW Gallery, Hackney
I wrote down some tentative ideas for new work
I wrote some lists – always a good feeling!
What happened on Saturday was a sort of purging. I expressed out loud my doubts, anxieties and hopes for my work.
It was a moment when I physically felt myself turning a corner – away from the dark alley I had become lost in.
I realise I have been on a treadmill – making work, just for the sake of it.
When actually, a bit of quiet reflection will probably pay equal dividends.
To end on a more amusing note: thinking I was being professional, I have recently begun to paint the edges of my stretchers …. something I now remember from art school that is extremely uncool! And, for all that was said in that one-hour crit, that was the only cringe-making moment. I didn’t mind that three months of work was slated, I could see it’s unrelenting vacancy, it’s pointlessness.
But to be caused to cringe at one’s own mistaken, petty vanity …. now that was hard.
Graham Crowley’s paintings can be seen at: http://www.grahamcrowley.co.uk