The Laws of Nature

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Subjectivity and The Beholder's Eye

This painting, entitled All Cracked Up III, is one of the first in this series and was completed nearly four years ago. I'm posting it because it's relevant to a statement that one of you made on your blog. The statement was about an artist's discouragement over a rejection from a juried competition. Those of us who annually engage in the world of juried exhibitions know how fickle they can be simply because of the subjective nature of individual judgement when it comes to art. This painting has been juried into and rejected by many jurors over the years. A few years ago it was juried into a major international exhibition where it won second prize. I remember walking around the exhibition, examining all the paintings, and then standing in the middle of the room to evaluate how my painting looked in comparison to the rest (I felt humbled!). Two women approached my painting (which already had the award affixed) and became irate. I remember hearing one of them say: "The judge got it wrong! How could he have made such a big mistake? This is an awful painting!" The other agreed, and stated that her painting, which wasn't juried in, was much better. You get the drift. I could have felt offended, but I didn't. The fact is, every eye that beholds an artist's work views through the lens of personal taste. So, I smiled when I heard the comments because - at least there was a reaction to what I had done! That's better than no reaction at all. Discouragement is a waste of time. Use it to work harder and produce better work.


-Don said...

I take it the other lady's painting must have been of sour grapes.

You ever notice how it seems to be feast or famine sometimes? Early this year I got accepted into 3 shows in a row and started to get the 'big head'. Since then I'm 0 for 7... Gotta' admit to looking forward to the next 'feast'.

Great blog, Kathy. Thank you for the encouraging words.


Myrna said...

Great story, Kathy. I think it takes awhile to get over rejection. The year Chung Kee Chee was rejected along with my painting really put it into perspective. Not everyone recognizes genius when they see it! I would say this painting is definitely a winner.

Joanne said...

Gasp! Wow! Hi Kathy... thank you for the visit to my blog. Now that I am here, I realize that YOU are the person whose paintings of eggshells inspired one of my watercolor paintings I posted in May, which I entitled "Beauty in Brokenness". It was well over a year ago when I happened upon your website, and fell in love with this eggshell series. From that time on, I had it in my mind to paint eggshells - and finally did last month. Since I don't eat eggs, it took a very long time for my husband to consume enough eggs for me to use as my props! I am truly honored to meet you, and to hear your experience of "acceptance and rejection". It really does help to hear others' stories in order to put our perspective back in place! I am so glad to find your blog, and become one of your followers!

Kathy said...

Hi Joanne, It's nice to "meet" you. I'm happy to know that this series inspired you, and hope your creativity is fed by the notion of painting in a series. Actually, you can pick any object and do the same. It's a matter of thinking about design and imposing that on the subject. Happy painting!

Mike said...

Well Said, Kathy! If rejection did not exist in our world, why would we bother to attempt to excel?

Knowing what I do of your work and how you go about it, you are an example for most artists to follow.

Good ole persistance, eh? :p)

Laura Trevey said...

Your work is So Amazing!!

I love looking at the egg shells!!

Cindi said...

thank you for visitng my blog and signing in, so i could come here.. wow!! love the eggshells..!!! and especially enjoyed reading why you started this.. i may print it out and hang in on the wall if that is ok.. great push for me, who is timid about taking risks!! thank you for sharing!!