Saturday, September 21, 2019

Scenes From New Jersey Opens

Tonight was the opening reception for my new show in Belmar.  As of yesterday nothing had been posted to the website yet, but a check this afternoon showed that something had.  Unfortunately, it wasn't correct.  Not yet knowing what they would want for the show, last week I sent 9 jpegs, expressing a preference for the black and white pieces, and on Monday (3 days later) I was finally told just hang anything you want.  On Tuesday I did just that, going with 4 black and white pieces, then e-mailing a list of works and a quick artist statement to one of the chairs.  The page that finally showed up on the website today included three images, only one of which is in the show.  Not knowing what was going on, I put the other two framed pieces in my car, just in case.

Got there and asked what was going on.  Was told that the two color pieces were thought to look better on the web page so they went with that, all approved by the bosses.  The two boardwalk prints are good pieces and I don't object to having them by my name, so if those in charge don't have a problem with the site advertising works that aren't on display, I'm not going to complain.  Left it alone and got on with the evening.

My show received much praise, partly for the quality of the work (these are all good prints) and partly for how they looked on the wall.  The pieces were chosen because I felt they would contrast nicely with the deep red color of the wall, so not a surprise.  The food was put in that room, which probably guaranteed a continuous flow of visitors.

Many people recognized the bottling plant, even if they wren't sure exactly where it was.  Multiple people seemed particularly impressed with Moving Day for a piece that is a few decades old.  If there was smaller version they would buy it right now.  Of course, a lot of people talk, but few offer the money.  On the other hand, the design part is already done, and on occasion I have made smaller versions of larger pieces.  But nothing happens until I finish the current piece I have in progress. Also talk tonight about another Belmar t-shirt.  I guess I can start thinking about ideas.

Most who came into the room were there for cookies, but some were curious about the art.  David Levy, there in the building as a juror of the photo show came into the room for a second extended look.  He was very impressed with my use of positive and negative space.  Well, that's what woodcut is about in my opinion.  I'm told that he is high up at the artist guild in Shrewsbury, so maybe this will lead somewhere someday.  Some former local students came by.  I had seen Linda in the building last week and mentioned the upcoming show, so not really a surprise. We had even talked about deer that day, so I knew she'd appreciate the piece that featured them.  What struck her tonight was the scale- she had seen smaller reproductions of some things I had done, and as a student she tended to work small, but in these cases I always point out that the same process is used in both sizes, so get a larger piece of wood and an ambition to work bigger, and large prints will follow.  Large woodcuts can be overwhelming- there'e real power in this medium.  Nellie, from my class last month in Ocean Grove, also came by, showing me a piece she's working on and I gave her some advice.  I reminded both students that this work would be on the wall for another month, should they want to come back again or tell their friends.

Of course I talked up my next woodcut class, and some talked about taking it, but I know from experience that getting people from talking to signing up is a real battle.  So we'll see.


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