Copyright April M Rimpo

Visit April's website
Copyright April M Rimpo All Rights Reserved. You may share my work with attribution and a link to this source site, but all other uses are prohibited.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

A Presentation on "The Art and Science of Acceptance into Juried Shows"

A local fine arts association asked me to give a talk on getting into juried exhibitions. Some of their members were aware that my art has been selected into several National and International exhibits in the last several years.  

Many years ago I had taken a one-day workshop on the jurying process which included a panel of jurors who reviewed art provided by those present to select an imaginary exhibition.  Before they provided their selections they explained the jurying process, including the speed with which images are viewed.  Each image is seen only for a couple seconds, two or three times, while the selection is made. They presented the images to the audience just twice at the typical speed and asked us to select just 10 image to be included in a show.  Then each of the five jurors presented their choices.  It was easy to see that several of the jurors had a few of the same images in their selection. I was delighted that I had some of the same images.  This workshop taught me a few things:

  1. The selection process is very subjective (since each juror had different criteria they used to select the show), but most of them were looking for pieces they thought would make a cohesive show.
  2. There are some qualities in artwork that do cause people to pay attention and those pieces had a higher probability of being selected.
I went home feeling much better because I understood how many excellent pieces didn't make the cut and that you should not let a "not selected" decision make you stop entering exhibits.

As I've started to move from entering local exhibits to National and International exhibits, the number of entries and quality of entries has increased. Often jurors speak about their choices while providing some rules of thumb on what they look for. Over the years I've been able to learn what types of things make a difference. What are those qualities that make a piece stand out on the National scene.

Some of these are no surprise:
  • Your ability to technically handle your medium must be excellent. This will not guarantee your work will be selected, but if technique is lacking you will likely not be selected.
  • Your piece needs to have something unique that catches the juror's eye. Design, perspective, color choices, and high value contrast are some of the characteristics that will make a difference.   Every piece doesn't have to have all of these, but some combination that will make the judge think, "Hey that's different and I want to look at that some more."
  • Emotional content in the piece is another attribute that is hard to explain but can make a difference.  What I mean by this is that the painting is not just a pretty picture but it also says something: tells a story or makes a statement about something.
Samples of April M Rimpo paintings
selected for Major Art Exhibitions
Spend some time examining your own work to see which pieces have been selected for shows and which pieces have received awards.  This analysis doesn't have to take a lot of time, but will probably teach you a lot and help you focus on what you enter. If you haven't received awards, then spend some time looking at the pieces that did get awards and try to understand what made them stand out.  You may not like the work, but try to get to the essence of what may have made it special to the judge.  Whenever possible attend receptions to hear the juror speak; it will be informative. This doesn't mean you paint subjects you don't care about or change your style.  You have to paint what you love. 

In my talk I'll expand on these concepts and use my work to illustrate my point. I'll also discuss other aspects of entering exhibitions that might help you figure out the right exhibits for your work. Costs and time commitments will also be covered.  

Update: There was a great turnout at this program with lots of good interaction through questions and comments.  I think everyone was surprised that I had them be the jurors of a simulated show. I presented 20 slides of art. Each slide was shown 3 times for 3 seconds each time.  Their job was to familiarize themselves with the entries on the first pass; eliminate half on the second pass; and downselected to 3 images on the last pass.  The top 3 most-voted-on images were then discussed in terms of how they corresponded to typical jurying criteria. 

Comments like, "I spent months working on a piece and the juror looks at it for 10 seconds?" told me the message got through.  No one should every feel pain from rejection since your time in from of the juror is very short and extremely subject.  I did elaborate on tips that might help their chances of being selected.

Click here to Contact April

Interested in learning more about April's art inspirations, tips about her painting process, or art business tidbits? Want to know when her art is in exhibits? Consider joining her friends and collectors by signing up for her twice-monthly email.

Copyright April M Rimpo All Rights Reserved. You may share my work with attribution and a link to this source site, but all other uses are prohibited.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I look forward to hearing from you. - April

Most Popular Posts This Month

Most Popular Posts of All Time