Exhibit dates: January 3–February 5, 2017
Opening reception: Thursday, January, 12, 6:30–8:00 pm
Juror: Rebecca Chaperon
The Art League Best in Show Award: "Studio Still Life (after Diebenkorn)," by Paul Zapakta
Humans are creatures of habit. We have our daily routines and rituals, our favorite places and things. Some habits, like volunteering or recycling, better society, the planet, and ourselves. Other habits tend to have a negative impact, like drug addiction or alcohol abuse. Some practices are as simple as brushing our teeth every morning, yet others are harder to achieve, like saving money or losing weight.
Artists are encouraged to examine habits, patterns, routines, and rituals – either in the context of their own lives, their own artwork, different cultures, or humanity as a whole.
What do you look for in a successful work of art? What was your decision-making process?
Rebecca Chaperon: In determining my selection of artist works for the “Habits” exhibit, I prioritized the artist's ability to "run with" their aesthetic for the piece. Each of the pieces selected for this show had (to me) the strongest and most developed aesthetic. I also chose pieces that most appealed to my sense of style! So in some cases work was rejected where the aesthetic was actually well developed but not something that I personally liked. Another consideration was the approach to materials.
What did the unselected works have in common?
The unselected works were simply not to my personal taste. I would like to encourage all of the artists who weren't selected not to be discouraged … I chose works based on my individual opinion and taste. If one of the artists who submitted were to see my own art, they might not like my style either!
How did you interpret the theme, “Habits”? Was a piece's subject matter important?
I think that the theme of “habits” is perfect for an art exhibition because making art is one of the most habitual activities in most artists' lives. I interpreted the theme broadly and trusted that each artist portrayed habits in a way that was important to them.
What was it like to jury from digital images? How important was the artwork photography?
This was an interesting process. I really enjoyed it and it made me feel a new connection to a community of artists outside of Canada. I would do it again in a heartbeat. The artwork photography was important. But I can empathize with artists trying to document their work — you are doing the best that you can! That said, spending money on a good photographer (one experienced in documenting art) is some of the best money that I spend in my own business — I'd highly recommend it.
What drew you to the two award winners?
Paul Zapatka, Studio Still Life: I was really interested in the slight stylization of the objects in the still life. It is a hard thing to do without going into a cartoon-like aesthetic. I loved the forced tilt of the perspective. I think one of the things I loved the most about this piece were the colour choices. I feel as though the artist was very deliberate with the colours chosen and showed a restraint in the choice to not add more. The piece has a very warm feeling. To me it conveys the love of the tools and materials depicted — a habit that is enjoyed.
Andrea Cybyk, If Only: I really loved the vibrancy of the piece, and again, there is a restraint here that works in the artist’s favor. This piece is really made up of this multitude of stripes, each the same width and each running across the canvas horizontally at different angles. When I look at this piece, I sense the process that the artist went through to create the piece and it conveys a sense of play. There is a very joyful quality to this work and it shows another positive face of habit: the aspect of play within process.
What was your goal for this exhibit?
My goal for this exhibit was to acknowledge the hard work and skill of the artists involved. I hope that this exhibit is a wonderful experience for all participating and that they have the opportunity to get exposure, recognition, and sales of their work. In giving suggestions for the hanging of the work, I hoped to group the works together in groups that would support each other and have an overall flow to each area.
Which media had the strongest competition?
Painting! There were many painting contributions. And even though painting is my first love, I tried to ensure that photography was strongly represented as well. Sculpture had the least amount of submissions.
What would you like to have seen more of?
I would have liked to see more work that is a looser interpretation of the theme and not so literal. That was something I came up against in looking through all of the submissions. Something that helps me to be less literal is to write out my ideas before I start painting — this often gets that urge to be super literal out of the way, clearing the path for a looser and therefore more open interpretation of the idea.
Can you tell us a little about your own artwork and how it informed the jurying process?
In my own work, I like to develop different aesthetics through different series. I tend to love subjects that lean toward the mysterious and bizarre. Many of my pieces are highly narrative — they tell a mysterious story usually in carefully composed alternate world. Other times my work is less figurative or a combination of flat abstraction with landscape painting. I think that informed the jurying process because I can appreciate work that is highly figurative or very abstract. I also think that I have an eye for colour and composition because I experiment with these regularly.
What advice do you have for our artists?
My advice for your artists is that everyone should feel great about submitting to this exhibit. I want to say thank-you to everyone who took the time to create work and go through the process of submitting. Without all of you submitting your art, there wouldn't be any exhibit at all.
Submitting your art takes time, work, and guts. I deal with rejection all the time and I know it doesn't feel good. Over time I have come to see that rejection is proof that I tried to do something that wasn't a sure thing. Where would I be if I only tried to do things that I knew would be accepted? I definitely wouldn't have had the shows and received the grants that have helped my career so much. So keep bravely submitting your work — never give up.
If you are showing in this exhibit, I'd like to say congratulations. My advice is to invite lots of people and use it as an opportunity to expose your work and connect with other artists.
What do you hope viewers get out of the exhibit?
I hope that the exhibit inspires people and that it is visually pleasing. I want viewers to experience a show where the work flows and follows different moods allowing them to contemplate the art individually as well as the groupings.
Rebecca Chaperon’s paintings (www.thechaperon.ca) act as a means of storytelling, as landscapes meet flat geometry and emotive undercurrents. Born in England in 1978, Rebecca attended Emily Carr University in Vancouver, BC where she studied fine arts until graduation in 2002. Her work is exhibited/collected internationally and recently shown (2014) in Vancouver, L.A., and San Francisco.
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