"I Believe I Can Fly" - mixed media on cradled wood, 12" x 12". Framed in matte black. Making its public debut at Ciel Gallery on June 2.
It's ROAD TRIP WEEK! Heading to the Queen City on Wednesday for The Wisdom of Wild Things opening reception and a WILD CHILD workshop! It is a symbolic trip for me. Two years ago in June, I was in a featured show at the same gallery, after which we packed up our house and moved to Florida. So it's an anniversary and a full-circle journey all in one. There is so much (and so many people) to love in Charlotte - I know this trip will turn me into a whirling dervish before it is over.
Art shows are like theater productions. The planning begins more than a year in advance with reserving the venue and the date. Then nothing happens for a long time, until someone decides to figure out what the theme is. "Um, what exactly are we doing?" one artist might inquire. "I don't have a clue, but I've been painting a lot of animals lately," another might say. "What will you feel like painting next year?" is the real question, because the work isn't even created until the month before, generally. It's like being a fortune teller, only without any crystal ball or elaborate headscarf. Sometime nearer the opening date, press releases are written, signs and banners ordered, advance tasks organized and, oh yeah, people begin to paint (or sculpt, or weld, in the case of one of our featured artists) in a flurry of last minute press toward the finish line.
In the week leading up to the opening, the prior month's show is taken down, walls patched and painted, floors swept and mopped. Labels are printed, wine is purchased and the art, finally, appears together in one space for the first time. In this case, four artists who will work until their brains burst to curate about 70 pieces in some way that makes it look effortless. Whew!
When the big night arrives, it is sort of like having a baby....a year of anticipation, planning and some pain and discomfort (and possible weight gain, if you stress eat like we do). Then the doors open and WOW! The "baby" is beautiful and perfect and we fall in love with the end result, forgetting, for a moment, all the work, PANIC, tears, frustration, confusion, exasperation and sleepless nights that culminated in a glorious one night event.
If we have done our jobs well, the audience will connect deeply with our creations and applaud our efforts with red dots on the wall...those tiny symbols of validation and encouragement, and, well, food on the table and bills paid! I can't name a single artist who isn't standing on the edge of self-destruction until the first red dot appears. Watch us closely on opening night...the sweat beading on our brows, the nails being nibbled, the eyes darting back and forth - until the first red dot. Then we are transformed into glamorous, relaxed, conversational geniuses (oh wait...that could be the wine talking). But seriously red dots tell the artists to do it again, keep doing it and never give up - the gallery equivalent of a standing ovation.
In the meantime, I'm packing extra deodorant and talking myself off the edge of the terrible tower of panic.
The Wisdom of Wild Things - opening reception June 2 from 6-9 pm at Ciel Gallery. Includes the work of Teresa Hollmeyer, Amy Hart, Caroline C. Brown and Jen Walls. Show runs through June 30th.
Jen Walls and her imaJENation