The Jurying Process

I have just had two paintings (out of two submitted!) juried into the Vermont Pastel Society’s upcoming show at the Compass Gallery in Brandon, VT (5/29/16 – 7/29/16). It’s always so nicely affirming to have some art expert, whoever this person may be, select my work as worth including in a show. Here are the paintings:

DSCF1055 (3) “Sumac,” 20″ x 16″

Late-Day Grace “Late-Day Grace,” 16″ x 20″

Both are fine paintings, I think, so not a surprise that they got into the show. And (says she modestly) I usually get into shows when I submit work. But on the other hand, there is always a sort of random quality to anything involving art: it’s so very subjective.

I once had the opportunity to observe the jurying process. There were two jurors. The images were projected onto a screen, and they discussed each image. Their comments and selection process were fascinating. I certainly agreed with much of what they noticed. But it seemed to me that they were more critical of some of the stronger pieces and more forgiving of some of the weaker ones. I have seen this happen in art workshops as well: perhaps it comes from a feeling that stronger artists need constructive critique and weaker ones need encouragement. The bottom line is that some quite good pieces (by my standards!) were eliminated, including at least one from a fairly well-known and successful artist. And a couple of (according to me!) really weaker ones were included. It was a little like, as they say, watching sausage being made. Sausage may be yummy, but you really don’t want to know how it happens. And juried shows are usually fine shows, but of course seeing the show does not tell you what paintings were omitted.

What makes for good art? There are perhaps some universals, such as good composition or color harmony. That said, every “rule” in art is made to be broken. Most of us, though, can tell a decent painting from a poor one even if we can’t say how we arrived at that conclusion. But ultimately art is personal. What sings to me may leave you untouched. It’s true for jurors as well.


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5 Responses to The Jurying Process

  1. Gail Anderson says:

    Have you ever juried a competition? If so, how was t for you?

  2. Very interesting about the jury – both of these give a strong sense of space…Congratulations on being chosen, whatever the process…

  3. Its weird how they jurry art. I was in a Jurried show in June. The jurror was from a modern art gallery and since it was a small show, she was the only one. I don’t think she understood my use of bright colours in skies and vegitation. But on a sunny summer day those are the colours I see.

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