J.T. Kirkland at Thinking About Art has a project going on over at his blog that I partook in last week. I believe it is still something anyone can do if you are so inclined, it being the ARAP (artists review artists project). It's a great way to get a little exposure, be exposed and just have some fun with art in general.
I had my work reviewed in a gallery opening over a year ago by an editor of a New England Art Zine, he actually spoke about my work along with two other people at a gallery opening. It was kind of a big deal at the time. The one thing that bugged me was he never spoke to me at all about my work (probably the norm but it still bugged me). He had no real idea why I did what I did or what it meant to me. I've written about this on the blog before, how during his talk at the gallery when someone asked a question about my work he answered and I piped in with my two cents worth.
I'd be lying if I didn't say I was nervous to submit a picture to J.T.'s site (I submitted Nitidulidae) and have a complete stranger review it out of context. And I'd be lying if I didn't say I wasn't also nervous to submit another persons work out of context. What I mean by out of context I think is more not having knowledge of the person who created the work. For me, I learn more about the art and the person when the two come as a package. Let me see their body of work and then let me know as much as I can about them. THEN I will know if I like the work.
It will be revealed on his site at some point the work I reviewed. [review is posted here]It was challenging to say the least. I was able to read and respond to the persons review of my work as they are able to respond to my review if they want. I learned a lot from this and I highly recommend others who aren't 'established' to give this a try. I think I learned more from this persons review than I have in a long time, and not necessarily about the art itself. I also learned that reviews while they seem to mean much initially, in the end, don't. For me at least I know I don't want to sit around and mentally scrutinize what something means. How can you even know? I found it fascinating that the person who reviewed Nitidulidae had some powerful things to say about something I gave no thought to. I enjoyed it but I really got it that I make art as if by waving a magical wand. I don't know why I do what I do. Rarely have I given it intellectual thought beforehand. The whys and hows don't enter into the picture as much as just the doing. The more I can get out of the way of my brain the better the art. That isn't to say I don't have to stop and think about what to do, but the whys are what I try to silence. I suppose in the end, it is fun or interesting to tear something apart and analyze it, I'll leave that to the experts.
Aric Calfee was the artist I reviewed. You can see his work here. When I got to see his website and body of work, find out more about the artist I had a big duh moment that he is a fan of R. Crumb. I was able to appreciate the piece I reviewed much more after seeing/knowing more about the artist and his work. I recommend you guys submitting to J.T. and doing the project, it took me out of my comfort zone and woke me up a bit.