You know what they say about buses, well, it looks like the same can be applied to curators. After a number of cancelled and delayed dates for meetings, eventually they both came one after the other. The one thing that struck me reading through all the Re:view bursary AN blogs is the diversity of situations and relationships supported by the scheme. What has gradually been reinforced in my mind is that each artist’s path is entirely unique and there appears to be no one blueprint to a successful or satisfactory career. In other words, we each have to find our own way.
In my case the route to choosing curators to work with was a little bit more left field. The two women I have been working with this week do not have galleries as such to show work in. They are not solely the head of organisations although that is, at times, part of what they do, they are not names which many of you will know. They have however worked with some extraordinary artists and supported some respected and groundbreaking work.
Currently Judy Adam is working on Art South http://www3.hants.gov.uk/artsouth, a collaborative project involving artists such as Jordan baseman and Mel Brimfield both of whom I find incredibly interesting practitioners. Helen Sloan is director of Scan http://www.scansite.org/scan.php amongst her many other roles and again works with some artists I have great respect for.
Unlike other Re:view recipients, I am not working on one major project, funded and formalised, although that may evolve out of this. I’m not looking necessarily for practical and technical support. What I am building, I hope, are relationships. A mentoring which will encompass critical dialogue, information and understanding of the possibilities that lie ahead.
In this first post I will look at Judy Adam’s visit. There were positive and negative aspects of having the two curators so close together at the same time. Judy Adam concentrated largely on opportunities, looking at potential relationships and people who could helpful in my career. We looked at the work itself, at the strengths and weaknesses of past exhibitions and of whom Judy felt amongst her contacts the work would connect with. We looked at how the network of curators, head of organisations, and the academic community in the area and beyond are interlinked together and how, somehow, to break into that and retain your integrity as an artist. We had an interesting discussion on the value of practice based Ph.D.s and how often that opens up routes for funding and can make your work more visible within that network.
Judy took a lot of notes as did I and left to consider some points and get back to me at a later date. We agreed to meet up later in the year and I have already followed up one of her leads and will hopefully be having a further studio visit with another curator as a result.