Thursday, April 9, 2009

A Closer Look

I returned to the gallery on Tuesday to view my own show for the first time, on my own, without rush or worry about the opening. It's over. It was a success. Phew.

What a difference it makes to see one's own work carefully framed and on display, to take in the sheer quantity of work, to feel affirmed by all the red dots on the labels indicating which pieces have sold, to recall how crowded these rooms were just days before, all the compliments I tried so awkwardly to absorb with grace.

It occured to me part way though the evening that when someone gushes, "Thank you" need not be the extent of my response - I can follow with questions, engaging the viewer about what moves them, where the work takes them. What a gift it was to hear their answers.

Suddenly I get it that I'm an artist, that I have been all along. That these works, and my private visual vocabulary, does indeed speak to others, whether art-educated or — even better — not.

Even the labels I made to accompany each piece, a conceptual design project in its own right, were well received. In fact, one friend and colleague suggested I look into showing the labels all on their own. An exciting idea which I plan to pursue.

Today I put in an application for another show in another gallery, another town. I get it now, finally, that this is just the beginning, that these applications will become part of my routine, that I will continue to develop as an artist and a professional, and that the road ahead promises exciting terrain.

As always, dear readers, I will bring you along for the ride.

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