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Petite December- Dec 2017

Petite December — Small Works
December 6, 2017 – January 7, 2018
Juror: Benedict Heywood
Opening Reception: Thursday, December 14, 6:30–8:00 pm

"Petite December" consists of 52 small, original artworks.

Q & A with Juror Benedict Heywood

TAL: Based on the artworks you selected, what is the overall mood of “Petite December”?
BH: Modern and seasonal, perhaps?

TAL: What do you look for in a successful work of art? Were there any artworks or artists that stood out?

BH: In a submitted group show I look for a sense of confidence in the art-making – not necessarily skill – and that the artist has a clear idea of why the work was made; what purpose it might serve. There was a very varied field to select from; I think the works that stood out were the ones that I selected!

TAL: How important is subject matter & narrative in a successful work?

BH: I feel that it is the artist’s intention, and clarity with which that intentionality is communicated is the key factor in the success of any artwork. Technical prowess is less important, but an artist should be able to show, at the very least, an understanding of their chosen medium, if not a complete command.

TAL: What medium(s) did you find strongest/weakest? Why?

BH: Painting was strongest, though, as is often the case, as a medium, it contained some of the weakest entries. It’s wonderful to see makers and artists rise to the challenge of working in three-dimensions, but that is, obviously, often a challenge.

TAL: The artworks in “Petite December” are, after all, petite. Do you think there is a special appeal in miniature works?

BH: Yes; that is often something that viewers of any artwork find appealing, and artists too enjoy the challenge of a smaller scale. However, beware of smallness for smallness’s sake.

TAL: Do you have advice for how artists should approach (or experiment with) scale when making their work?

BH: I feel that any subject for an artwork has within it its natural scale. The skill of the artist is finding that scale. One solid piece of advice would be to avoid pre-made canvases for two-dimensional work. As an artist you should be finding what’s right for the work.

TAL: Is there anything you wish you had seen more of? Less of? Was there a common subject matter that kept surfacing among submissions?

BH: The still life was a common theme. I would have been interested to see more artists experimenting with abstraction.

TAL: With “Petite December,” and all our exhibits, we hope that people are able to see the value in owning or gifting handmade artwork. What thoughts do you have about how to make the gift of art more accessible (or appealing) to the public?

BH: We live in a culture that is driven by common and generic experiences. An artwork is a truly unique gift.

TAL: What was it like curating a show based on digital submissions?

BH: The majority of curating for exhibition is done digitally nowadays. It simplifies the process immensely, but one has to be careful to understand that the digital image is not the real artwork, but a facsimile of one. Obviously, once one is in the gallery space, then one can work directly with the object; though increasingly digital tools such as Sketch-Up are making that process increasingly obsolete also!

TAL: Were the unselected works lacking something in particular? What advice do you have for artists who were not selected?

BH: I’m just one person. No artist should give up on their work because they were not selected for a single exhibition. However, try to understand why you make the work that you do, and who you make it for. It’s that self-knowledge that is key.

About the Juror, Benedict Heywood

Benedict Heywood serves as the Executive Director of the Bellevue Arts Museum in Bellevue, Washington. The Bellevue Arts Museum is renowned for the quality of its exhibitions and for celebrating emerging and nationally recognized artists. Their exhibitions represent some of our nation’s best art, craft, and design.

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