Monday, September 24, 2012

Irene Abraham solo show: Interchange

                                                                     hard wired, acrylic, graphite on board, 30" x 30"

Art Institute of CaliforniaSan Diego
7650 Mission Valley Rd, San Diego, CA - (858) 598-1200

Solo show “Interchange” from September 21 through November 3.
Artist reception will be October 5, 6-8 PM.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Athenaeum's 21st Annual Juried Exhibition

My Voice Became a Whisper, 2012, by Kathy Miller
I was pleased to have a piece of my art selected for the Athenaeum's 21st Annual Juried Exhibition.

"The juried exhibition has become a barometer for the most promising local artists, and a first step for many now established leaders in the visual arts community. On view in the Joseph Clayes III and Rotunda galleries, from August 4 through September 1, will be forty-eight pieces of art by a selection of artists showcasing the diverse talent across San Diego County.

Each year, jurors carefully pore over hundreds of submissions before selecting works to be included in the prestigious show. Ben Strauss-Malcolm, Director of the Quint Gallery, and Jill Dawsey, Associate Curator for the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, served as the Athenaeum's 21st Annual Juried Exhibition's jurors."—Athenaeum Music & Arts Library

On view August 4 through September 1, 2012

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Just a Thought. . .

"Too often we mistakenly believe that doing less makes us lazy and results in a lack of productivity. Instead, doing less helps us savor what we do accomplish."
Accomplishing More by Doing Less, by Marc Lesser

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Small Expressions 2012

Summer's arrived in San Diego, warm but not too warm for a road trip to the Long Beach Museum of Art to see an annual international juried exhibit sponsored by the Handweavers Guild of America, Inc. Small Expressions 2012 showcases fiber art on a small scale, not to exceed 15 inches in any direction. There are 37 contemporary art works on display.

My favorite piece in this small exhibit of small objects was Leaves, 2011, by artist Jenine Shereos, Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts. At first glance these airy leaves looked like delicate leaf skeletons. Upon a closer look I saw that the sculptural leaves were created by tying, wrapping and stitching human hair. . . a real delight to encounter!

May 10 - August 12, 2012, at the Long Beach Museum of Art, Long Beach, California. Juror: Carol Shaw-Sutton, Professor of Art California State University, Long Beach

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Still time to see this

try this link   The Exquisite Garden  ( for a short tour of this fascinating installation at the William D. Cannon Art Gallery in Carlsabad, CA.  This is a collaboration with Joe Brubaker, a team of associated artists and local artists and students.    They have filled the space at the Cannon with many scenes of joy, delight and menace.  A sound scape adds a further heightening ingredient for this unusual show.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Interview with Patricia Frischer, San Diego Community Arts Organizer, Artist

Article and interview by Cathy Breslaw
I met Patricia Frischer in 2001, a few years after she moved to the San Diego area. My studio was on the COVA Studio Tour and as Patricia introduced herself, and we had a conversation, it was obvious to me how enthusiastic she was about making and seeing art , meeting artists and reaching out to the art community. In the last ten years or so, Patricia has brought her generosity of spirit, art know-how and years of experience in her own art career to pioneer and build the San Diego Visual Arts Network. She has also been the driving force in many successful San Diego projects including Little and Large, Art Meets Fashion, Movers and Shakers, the San Diego Art Prize and the upcoming DNA of Creativity.

When I asked Patricia about what advice she has for artists in the San Diego community who are charged with the difficult task of promoting themselves and their work she had one thing to say - “Don’t wait to be discovered.” If anything has defined her journey through her art career and her life, it has been Patricia’s ability to navigate proactively through the challenges and opportunities presented to her. During our interview, Patricia told me the story of her art career and how “giving back to the visual arts community” of San Diego became her central priority which continues today.

Patricia grew up in Kansas and her first art experience that sparked an interest was jewelry-making and studying the craft side of art. Her first two years of college were at Washington University in St. Louis. Realizing that she belonged in an art school, Patricia moved to California where she attended the California College of Arts and Crafts. There her interest in jewelry making quickly turned into creating sculpture because as she said “My jewelry became so large that it eventually grew into sculpture“. Though she was offered a teaching position when she completed her bachelors and masters degree, Patricia thought she needed to move out into the world to gain some experience. So rather than staying in the “cocoon of the support system” at California College of Arts and Crafts, she chose to travel. She speaks fondly of her years in art school, including the many mentors and friends she had there who she still communicates with today.
So, Patricia packed her bags for London. Running out of money, she decided to stay in London and get a job and applied for a position as gallery assistant in an art gallery. During her time there, the gallery changed owners many times and the final owner, who was an entrepreneur, promoted her to gallery director and told Patricia she could create whatever kind of gallery she’d like. Taking on this amazing opportunity, Patricia turned the gallery into one that promoted drawings - she saw that no other London galleries were promoting unique works on paper. In the process of developing the gallery, Patricia met some famous artists including Henry Moore and Alan Jones, and organized a show of California artists which toured American embassies as part of a cultural program. As if all that were not enough, Patricia simultaneously made and exhibited her art during this time - focusing on small soft sculptures and small paintings - simply because she had a small flat and didn’t have room for larger work.

Missing familiy connections, Patricia then returned to the U.S., and found a job running art galleries for Humboldt State University, taught a few classes and wrote a book called: Artists and the Art of Marketing. Wanting to return to England, Patricia decided to go back to London. She proceeded to travel throughout England visiting universities presenting lectures on the content of her book on artist marketing. From this experience, she was offered a position as head of the art department at Southbank International School, which is a international baccalaureate high school. Patricia stayed at this position for 15 years, teaching students while simultaneously training art agents for MM Arts and creating her own art. During this time she met and married Darwin Slindee and in 1996 they decided to move back to the U.S.and to San Diego to live.

The San Diego Visual Arts Network, or SDVAN as it is known, came about as Patricia’s desire to bring together artists, curators, galleries, museums, art collectors and art aficianados in San Diego county into a resource directory and a way for these various groups to become aware of one another and to unite them in a common effort to strengthen the visual arts in San Diego. Since its launch in 2003, SDVAN has grown to over 1100 artists and 860 museums, galleries and non-profit organizations. The site also offers an events calendar, ‘Picks of the Month”, a collectors area, blogs, art reviews and more. At the beginning, Patricia asked for voluntary donations of $25.00 to obtain a listing on the site, but now Patricia says people donate freely and the site now pays for itself including the exchange of services for the listings. As Patricia explains, the beauty of this resource directory is that it doesn’t require an office, administrators, or employees that would otherwise add costs to fund it’s existence. Because of this, the money raised for the organization can go to help fund portions of special projects like Art Meets Fashion, Movers and Shakers, Little and Large, San Diego Art Prize and the upcoming DNA of Creativity. The common goal of all these projects has been Patricia’s desire to make the visual arts “front and center” to all residents of San Diego county. The most recent project, the DNA of Creativity, is planned for completion in the Fall of 2013.

If there is one message Patricia has it is her “belief in the power of art, how it enhances our lives - for both artists and those that appreciate it.” She believes that artists in San Diego have opportunities in the many galleries, and alternative venues that exist in the area. Her advice to artists is to band together with others of like minds and like kinds of work. She suggests these artists groups come up with themes for shows and present their ideas directly to gallery directors.

I am reminded of one of the books I’ve read by Joseph Campbell, philosopher and mythologist, who compared one’s life to the story in a novel - He said that if you look back over your life, the weaving of all the events, relationships and things that occur are like a well written story and it is easy to see how we wound up in the life we have today. It is just so with Patricia Frischer and the story she shared with me about how she went from artist, to traveler, to gallery director, to educator, to writer and how all those experiences prepared her for her fine work in the San Diego community and important contributions she has made in bringing many disparate groups together to enjoy and appreciate the visual arts.

For more information about Patricia’s work and project:
and visit our business web site at:
Art Girls Inc networking and art event planning
SDVAN arts directory and events calendar
Lecture service

Cathy Breslaw is a southern California visual artist, writer and lecturer who has had over 25 solo exhibitions, and 50 group exhibitions across the country at museums, art centers, college and university galleries and commercial galleries. Her work can be found in many private and corporate collections.

Her work and writing can be seen at:





Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Behind the Scenes Conversations: Interview with Danielle Susalla Deery, Director of Exhibits and Communications,Oceanside Museum of Art

Behind the Scenes Conversations: Interview with Danielle Susalla Deery, Director of Exhibits and Communications, Oceanside Museum of Art (May, 2012)
In the Fall, 2011, I had the opportunity to work with Danielle on my exhibition, ‘A Matter of Space’ which was on view in the Parker Gallery from October, 2011 - February 2012. Our association over a period of several months, gave me the chance to get to know Danielle and the workings of the Oceanside Museum of Art. When I decided to write the series “Behind the Scenes Conversations” - interviews with curators, exhibition directors, gallery directors, and others shaping the art world, I thought of Danielle. Behind her bright and energetic persona, lies a hard working, well organized, experienced, and educated young woman who is passionate about the arts.
Read about Danielle’s background, her 8 years at a commercial gallery and how that influences her work at OMA, the challenges of being an Exhibition Director, and learn some great advice for artists seeking an exhibition at a museum.1) Can you briefly talk about your time at Oceanside Museum of Art – how you got the position and your job responsibilities there? I started out as an intern at OMA in 2003 and helped out on various projects such as marketing, grant writing and exhibitions. Then, after receiving my MFA at California State University, Fullerton in 2007 I went back to OMA. They needed some help taking the leap into the social media world, so I started the museum’s blog and developed their Facebook page. This was a busy time for the museum as they were just finishing up their expansion. In May of 2008 they offered me the Assistant Director position and I was thrilled. It was a big responsibility, but I hit the ground running and wore many hats as all people do at a small institution. I managed the volunteer program, marketing, social media and events and curated a few small shows per year.

In April of 2011, I was promoted to Director of Exhibits and Communications. I manage the museum’s 5 exhibition galleries and oversee about 15 exhibitions a year. I curate exhibitions and work closely with artists, guest curators and lenders. Each exhibition requires lots of research and writing. I design the exhibit spaces, and create the text panels for each exhibit. I do many studio visits to keep pulse on what is going on in the art community as well as visiting galleries and museums to see what is current. I also review all the exhibition proposals that come to the museum.

I also handle all the marketing for the museum, which includes writing press releases for all our events and exhibitions and send them to our press contacts, designing and writing the museum’s print and e-mail based newsletters, managing the social media, public speaking about the museum, television and radio interviews, and photographing all the exhibits and events. Also under my purview is the Collection - We have about 140 objects in our possession and I make sure that each piece is catalogued and do research on pieces in the collection when I have time. I wish that I could devote more time to the collection since it continues to grow and it is an important part of the museum’s role in the community. I also manage the budget for all these departments. I am chair of the Exhibitions Committee, the Collections Committee and the Marketing Committee and I Chair the Marketing Committee for the San Diego Museum Council where I sit on the board.
2)Can you talk about your background and how you developed your passion for art?

I received my MFA and Certificate in Museum Studies from Cal State Fullerton in 2007. I focused on exhibition design, which was a combination of art history, design and curatorial studies. For my masters degree I curated a major exhibit called Han-Zi: The Rhythm of Chinese Script which brought together a number of Chinese artists from around the nation. Prior to CSUF I did some post baccalaureate work in art history and sculpture at SDSU for a couple years. I earned my BA in European Studies, which was a combo of Art History and French with a minor in Studio Art from Hobart and William Smith Colleges in New York and also studied abroad in Aix en Provence. France. Prior to working at OMA I was the Interim Art Gallery Director at Fullerton College where I curated a number of exhibits and taught art history and exhibition design.

An interesting piece of my background was the 8 years I spent at a commercial art gallery in La Jolla where I held various positions including gallery manager, senior art consultant and executive fine art consultant. I think this was really valuable because it showed me a whole other side to the art world. Most often galleries are concerned about what sells and they commission artists to paint a repeated image, taking away an artist’s creative freedom. Having sold millions of dollars’ worth of artwork over my 8 year span gave me a strong sense of art that is decorative vs. what has substance and content. When I left the gallery, I wanted something more fulfilling - I wanted to work with artists who were painting for themselves and had more depth to their work, and to have the opportunity to educate people about visual culture.

I developed my passion for art in high school when one of my ceramic sculptures was chosen to be in the Young At Art show the San Diego Museum of Art has each year. The excitement of seeing my work in the context of a museum setting propelled my desire to work with museums. The same year I studied abroad in Paris and my experience at the Louvre fueled my passion for art. Then, when I returned home from New York I began curating shows in local coffee shops and galleries before I started curating at CSUF, Fullerton College and OMA. I do enjoy making art when I have the chance,but it is more of a hobby for me. I feel that making art gave me a better understanding of the process behind creating art and the struggles and joys artists face.
3) What is your vision for exhibitions at OMA? How are decisions made for exhibitions that will take place at the museum?The exhibits at OMA have always been extremely diverse, from African quilts and underwater photography to glass art and abstract painting. I feel it is important to vary the styles and media displayed at the museum and work with both emerging and well established regional, national and international artists. My vision is to display exhibitions that are engaging, interactive and respond to the issues of contemporary art, while educating people about art history and the diverse cultures in our community.

Every few months I meet with our Exhibitions Committee and review interesting proposals submitted by committee members, outside curators and artists. The committee acts as a sounding board for what exhibitions will be the most relevant for OMA. Then I meet with our Executive Director and we make the final decision on which exhibits to move forward.
4) What have been your biggest challenges as exhibition director?Well, as you know, it is hard to please everyone. It is always challenging to inform artists that the museum is not able to exhibit their work. Sometimes their work is not up to museum standards, and other times it just does not fit with our schedule at the time. I really dislike giving people bad news and want to support every artist out there because I respect what they are doing. I hope that when an artist sends a proposal and doesn’t get a show, there won’t be hard feelings toward me or the museum. It is not personal, as there are many factors considered for making exhibition decisions.

Also, because I work for a public institution, occasionally I am faced with being judged and criticized, but at the same time I do feel a lot of support from our board and the community. My relative young age and experience may cause some to question my abilities. But, proving myself is part of growth and learning. You have to start somewhere and I am grateful to the museum and all the support I do get from most of the community.
5) What kind of experience do you want visitors to have had from visiting OMA?I hope that visitors engage with the artwork on view and learn more about our visual culture and the diverse methods artists use to communicate the human experience. In the future I would like to make our exhibits more interactive so that people stay longer and really take their time enjoying the museum.

6) What are you looking for in terms of the artists you select for exhibition at the museum?I look for artists who are doing something original and have an engaging story behind their work. I am also drawn to artists who push the envelope and find new ways to explore contemporary issues such as identity, diversity and environmentalism. I am also conscious of our audience when I select artwork for the museum, making sure that the work on view is accessible to all ages.

7) What do you look for when viewing an artist’s portfolio? What is necessary to include and what is not?I look for a strong artist's statement and a few striking images. This is what gets me to spend some time reading through their biography, CV and opening the CD of images if they sent one with their proposal. I also really like it when an artist includes an illustrated checklist so I can see what they have available and the sizes of each piece and the medium in one quick glance. And, I think that it is helpful to include a couple articles that have been written about the artists work, especially if the artist is not able to fully contextualize their work.

8) If you could give any advice to artists seeking an exhibition, what would it be?Submit a great proposal and invite the curator to visit their studio. I always learn so much more about an artist when I get the chance to see them in their own environment. Also, become a member of the museum they wish to show their work. If an artist wants to show at OMA they should come to our functions and introduce themselves to me and meet other people in the OMA community. And, keep curators up to date on what you are working on. If you have a new series of work, shoot the curator an email with a link to a photo album, stay in touch and keep promoting yourself.


Cathy Breslaw is a southern California visual artist, writer and lecturer who has had over 25 solo exhibitions, and 50 group exhibitions across the country at museums, art centers, college and university galleries and commercial galleries. Her work can be found in many private and corporate collections.

Her work and writing can be seen

Monday, April 23, 2012

Irene's show at Waldorf College

I enjoyed talking to the guests at the reception for Seeing is Believing  at the Waldorf College Art Gallery in Iowa.  It is wonderful when the viewers add their own spin to my work.  Their insights enrich my thought processes.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The San Diego Art Institute Regional Awards Exhibition Sparks Some Memorable Works

The San Diego Art Institute’s current Southern California Regional Awards Exhibition is a large display of ninety works, selected from 360 entries by judge, Deborah Klochko, Executive Director of the Museum of Photographic Arts. The exhibition is a combination of painting, sculpture, drawings, photography, monotype and assemblage. As it is with many open call competitions, quality and technical skill of the artists included varies greatly, but several works emerge as standouts.

Artist Diane Brunner’s sculptural work “Be Fabulous - Don’t Let One Thing Ruin Your Life”, is a charming mixed media piece portraying a ton of small paper maiche human figures, signs and messages, animals, boats, buildings and the ocean- all crowded into a small space. The work creates the sense of the bustling,lively activity of the San Diego harbor during tourist season - all seemingly sliding off of a somewhat vertical plane. The piece is protected by a clear acrylic frame. Warren Bakley’s “Relic”, a quietly compelling clay stoneware wall sculpture, portrays an abstract-like figure of a man in neutral gray-black tones. The face, which curiously has no features, almost seems to be melting or burning however the gesture of the figure appears stoic. The figure’s abstract forms create the feeling of a traveler dressed from an earlier era in time. “The Dream I Had Today”, an assemblage by artist Michael McAlister, is a wall piece - a small black chest housing a white skull-like object, stone, cork, photograph, and medicine bottle. A serpent-like head sits atop the chest leaving the viewer to wonder what personal story that snake might tell if he could talk. Cheryl Griffith’s “Hope”, a monotype with dry point which received a merit award, is a personal and charming tribute to the idea of “hope”. It portrays a young boy’s head looking out sideways with a bluebird perched on his head. A quote about “hope” by Emily Dickinson is printed prominently across the figure, seemingly indicating Griffith’s heartfelt thoughts about “hope”. The quietly present and smaller work “Floating City”, by Brandon Holmes, is a well crafted detailed realistic graphite drawing portraying Romanesque buildings, eighteenth century sailing vessels and three figures holding up some of the buildings. This fantastical drawing appears to be structured around the front end of a ship suggesting a mythological story that only the artist knows. Across a vertically painted gray wall, artist Judith Parenio exhibits “Pollen”, a well designed sculptural work made of several hexagonal wooden/encaustic elements referring to shapes in a honeycomb. Bats, birds, bees, and plants are the subject matter suggesting Parenio’s obvious love of nature. “Modern Woman Story” by Bhavna Mehta, is a black paper-cut work attached to a framed white background. As a traditional Indian art form spanning hundreds of years, this piece follows well In this traditions’ footsteps. Mehta depicts a personal journey of childhood symbols- kites, daisies, a girl playing basketball and reading a biology book. In the category of painting, there were three pieces of note by Eva D’Amico, John Brodie and Lauren Carrerera. D’Amico’s “Protecting Innocence”, refers to impressionistic painting whose subject of a young girl sleeping, intermingles with branches of a tree. This acrylic painting with a beautifully limited color palette expresses the artist’s love of movement and form. John Brodie’s “Fabulous Beast of Uncertain Returns”, is a boldly colored acrylic painting on clear polyester that seems to reference African masks and female symbols. Wildly expressed forms, brushwork and colors are curiously set against the backdrop of a formal abstract composition. Last, but not least, “The Audition” by Lauren Carrera, is a large abstract oil painting which is reminiscent of color field painting. It is a subtle mixture of turquoises, warm tones and burnt oranges in an overall tiny quilt-like pattern, like a blanket covering us in the fall season.

This exhibition runs through May 13th


Cathy Breslaw is a southern California visual artist, writer and lecturer who has had over 25 solo exhibitions, and 50 group exhibitions across the country at museums, art centers, college and university galleries and commercial galleries. Her work can be found in many private and corporate collections.

Her work and writing can be seen at:




Thursday, April 19, 2012

Helping Artists Become Artists

I found this interesting article on the Huffington Post, 12/19/11
by Agnus Gund, President Emerita and Chairman, International Council of The Museum of Modern Art 
"Many visual artists must believe, as one said to me recently, that "... there's no real field to break into... every single artist is a different story."

Monday, April 16, 2012

Gallery Director, Steven Hoover discusses everything from how he became a gallery director to what gallery directors look for in selecting artists for exhibition exhibition

Conversation With Steven Hoover, Gallery Director, Main Art Gallery, Kishwaukee College

1)      Can you briefly talk about your time at Kishwaukee College and how the gallery directing part works? (were you hired as instructor, then gallery dir? ) I was first hired as the Gallery Director at Kishwaukee College and teach classes when instructors are in need. The main focus of my position is to find qualified artists to fill the calendar school year with a diverse group of artists.  The exhibition schedule typically consists of displaying artwork in Kish student exhibitions, faculty shows, and solo and/or group exhibitions of emerging as well as established artists.  The day-to-day activities are always somewhat different.  I oversee the permanent art collection, establish insurance coverage on all visiting artists artwork, install and uninstall exhibitions, supervise student employees, manage the inventory, balance the budget, participate in committee(s) work, and regularly communicate with the art gallery committee, catering, printing, marketing, students, faculty, administration, and the artists.

2)      Can you talk about your background and how you developed your passion for art? Will you include your educational background and experience That is an interesting question due to the fact that I am a late bloomer in the art world.  Out of high school I first went to school for Marketing.  After earning my degree in 1996, I started my career in finance as a mortgage broker.  Completely unhappy with my career choices, I walked out of my office one Friday afternoon, drove to the nearest university, University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, and enrolled in classes.  The following week I started my first class with no plan other than to follow my heart.  Long story short, I earned my BFA in Painting and Drawing and decided to continue my education at Northern Illinois University where I earned my MFA in Painting in 2011.  (My CV is on my website is one semester behind, but mostly current.)

3)      What is your vision and intent for the gallery? How does that connect w/ your teaching?
To achieve my vision I need to get as many people in the gallery as possible.  I have reached out to all students, faculty, staff, and the surrounding community.  There seems to be this misconception that art galleries are like museums or libraries.  I believe an art gallery should have a sense of energy, or life when an individual walks through the door.  It is a place for people to meet and speak freely.  I have promoted the gallery as a place to hold meetings, read a book, have lunch, hang out, etc.  The art gallery is a public space for the Kishwaukee College community to use for a variety of reasons.  It is important to me that visitors think of the gallery as an easygoing, fun place to be that can also be a thought-provoking environment that stimulates conversation. 
My commitment to displaying a diverse amount of work will teach people that art comes in many different forms, aesthetically and conceptually.  My vision is to include everyone and encourage people to have an opinion.  It’s all about promoting conversation, critical thinking, and changing the perception of what an art gallery is. Ultimately, I want to educate people on the significance of art.

4)      What have been your biggest challenges as gallery director? My biggest challenges as gallery director change from day to day.  At the moment, things are running smoothly.  Kishwaukee College has been wonderful in dedicating funding to the art gallery.  In fact, new construction for an art gallery will begin in fall of 2012.  My biggest challenge is to make the right decisions now to make sure there are not any regrets five years from now.

5)      What are you looking for in terms of the artists you select for exhibition at your gallery?
When reviewing potential artists for exhibitions, I look for the potential impact an artist will have on the diverse student population.  The art should, to a certain degree, be professional, educational, and interesting.  It has to persuade gallery visitation and induce curiosity.  As I previously mentioned, I want to welcome all people to enter the gallery and talk about the art.    

6) What support or assistance does the college give you in the practical running of the Gallery and also in getting the word out to community and students?
 The school has an in-house print shop where I can print promotional material inexpensively.  The Marketing Department does a great job at sending out announcements to Kishwaukee College employees, local newspapers, and radio stations.  Kishwaukee College is committed to offering a well-rounded educational experience for all students.  Assistance is only a phone call away whenever I am in need of something.    

7) What experience do you think visitors walk away with after visiting the gallery?The visitors will hopefully have a completely different experience every time they visit the gallery.  Ideally, visitors will leave with an assorted amount of thoughts and questions about what they have just witnessed.  I want them to tell others and think about coming back to visit the gallery again.  For opening receptions I have broken away from the traditional veggie tray and stale crackers and cater in hot pretzels, pizza, and other “fun” foods and beverages for the visitors to enjoy.  I also try to get people to bring their children to add more life to the crowd.      

8) What do you look for when viewing an artist’s portfolio? The first thing I do is ask myself if I have seen this before.  I am not interested in bringing work that is too comfortable or too readily available.  That does not mean it needs to have vulgar shock value, but the work does need to have some level of pop.  The artwork should create curiosity and interest.  It must stimulate feeling, thought, and conversation.   

9) If you could give any advice to artists seeking a gallery exhibition, what would it be? There are three main approaches to seeking a gallery exhibition.  One- Go to artist resource websites that post calls for artists.  A simple google search with keep you busy for hours.  Two- Randomly send out professional packets, however, that can get expensive.  Three- Networking, networking, and more networking.  For the 2012-13 school year Kishwaukee College will have eight exhibitions.  There will be two student exhibitions and one faculty.  Of the five remaining exhibitions, two are from website submissions, two are from word of mouth, and the last one (still in the works) is borrowed from a neighboring university’s permanent collection.
When sending out submissions have a professional packet (CV, artist statement, written proposal of exhibition) with professional quality images.  Most will ask for digital files, which is great for expense and ease of submission.  If the artist is responding to call for artists, they need to follow the guidelines for submission or it may not even get looked at.  Keep in mind, presenting the work professionally lets the gallery know the artist takes their work seriously. 
One last comment, people ask me what is meant by the written proposal. This is different from the artist statement, but may have much of the same material in it.  Explain what pieces will be shown and why they work together.  What will the show “say?”  Let the gallery know you have put together a cohesive body of work that is worthy of a solo exhibition.  It’s all about having confidence, or at least faking it!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Irene's Show in the Yellow Rose State

Setting up

This shot gives you an idea of my what my solo show at the Hannah Bacol Busch Gallery in Houston looked like.  Here you see the final stages of the setup.  Much of the work was unframed Mylar paintings/drawings so getting them to sit flat was a bit of an issue, but all worked out well in the end.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Behind the Scenes Conversations

(Cathy Breslaw, writer)
As an artist, I am always curious about what gallery directors, curators and other exhibition decisionmakers are thinking when they are looking for artists and their work and what makes their art venues tick. It is the topic of many a conversation between artists when they congregate together. Personally, I am also interested in the backgrounds of these folks – how they developed their passion for art and how they ended up in the art world. I thought it would be helpful to get some answers to these questions and to share them with my fellow artists, collectors and other art afficianados. The following article is the result of an interview I recently had with Joy Reed Belt, Phd., owner and operator of JRB Art at the Elms Gallery in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. My recent exhibition at JRB Gallery gave me the opportunity to get to know Joy and have my questions answered. Joy’s gallery is a wonderful example of a successful gallery that is well respected by artists, curators and patrons of Oklahoma. JRB is the largest and most known contemporary art gallery in that state. I hope you will enjoy the ‘ interview’ article and look for more to come….
“Joy, I need 30 minutes in your gallery before I have to go back to work.” This is how one man, an Oklahoma City surgeon and frequent visitor to JRB Gallery at the Elms, expressed it. Having personally attended my recent opening at Joy Reed Belt’s gallery, I can confirm that this gentleman is not alone in his enthusiasm and support of the art, artists and gallery that Joy has developed since its opening in 2002. Most conversations at gallery openings revolve around an artists’ work as visitors sip wine and munch on h’or doerves. Not so, at JRB at the Elms. Comments like “This is the best gallery in Oklahoma” or “We visit every month to visit with Joy and see what new work she has found” are only a few that I recall. As an exhibiting artist, it was wonderful to hear that the gallery to which I had entrusted my work, had such a profound impact on its visitors. The sheer numbers of people I observed that evening in the The Paseo Art District’s First Friday was also remarkable.

This week I had the opportunity to interview Joy Reed Belt when she graciously offered her time to talk to me via phone, about her gallery, background and points of view on art, artists and a bit of her philosophy of life. In learning of her background, I found that Reed Belt holds a masters degree in Humanities, and a Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Studies, and that prior to ownership of the art gallery, she had an international Human Resources Consulting business for many years. Also of note, is the fact that Joy holds a BA in Theater Arts and had also worked for the National Endowment for the Arts writing grants for artists, which was funded by the Oklahoma State Art’s Council.

Reed Belt’s life changed when her husband John Belt, an avid art lover himself, prodded her to spend more time in Oklahoma City taking painting classes. She didn’t quite know where that would lead, but she followed his advice. As a result, Joy met several artists, rented a studio and eventually started representing artists and selling their work. The gallery which is part of the The Paseo Arts District, was remodeled and JRB Art at the Elms Gallery was born.

Reed Belt said “I grew up loving the arts” so it is no surprise that together with her educational background and business experience, owning an art gallery could be a logical next step in her career life. Joy says she “loves selling art” and she followed up by saying “(Art) It deserves to live even if nobody buys it…”Art” is a continuation of civilization.” The gallery which she calls the “third act” in her career, and as she reflects, this third act “often comes more from your interests than your skills”.

Joy told me that her 8,000 sq. ft. gallery space, makes it the largest commercial gallery in Oklahoma, showing work primarily from her state as well as some regional and national artists. Her goal is to bring more recognition to Oklahoma artists and to become more well known as a regional gallery. Reed Belt added: “I want to continue to push the envelope and expose people to more contemporary art as an option for them”.

Joy takes her visitors seriously, commenting “I want people to come and enjoy the gallery and I take pleasure in explaining artists work and I want them to value the art.” When asked about what advice she might have for artists seeking gallery exhibitions she had a lot to say. Most importantly, she noted that it is critical for artists to have good images of their work and that artists should make no apologies that “the work looks better in person”. Artists should do some “detective” work prior to contacting the gallery to be sure their work fits with the aesthetic of the gallery. Reed Belt stated that she not only has to “connect” with the artist’s work, but that she has to know that she can work with that artist - “If I sense that they are scattered or can’t meet deadlines, I can’t work with them”. She says she strives for the “right mix” - to show an eclectic group rather than showing artists work that might compete with others. Joy also says she looks for artists whose work is “distinctive”, and that “it is unusual in its own category”. Finally, she rather be approached professionally with a mailing of images rather than an artist “pulling up in a truck with samples of their work”. Yes, she says this does happen!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

SDAI Southern California Regional Exhibit opening reception

Ledge members Judith Parenio and Cheryl Griffiths both had pieces of their work chosen for the Southern California Regional Exhibit at SDAI (the San Diego Art Institute) in Balboa Park in March 2012.

Judith Parenio's large encaustic piece above entitled "Pollen" with admirers

Cheryl Griffiths received an award for her
monoprint/drypoint titled "Hope"

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Snippets: Visual Text

By Kathy Miller
 I was honored to be invited to be in a group exhibition called: Snippets: Visual Text, at The Gallery at R&F in Kingston, New York, along with five other visual artists, two of whom worked collaboratively. The artists included Kristy Deetz (Wisconsin), Anne Gorrick (New York) & Scott Helmes (Minnesota), Kathy Miller (California), Graceann Warn (Michigan), and Daniella Woolf (California). The show ran from February 4th through March 24th, 2012.

'Snippets’ is a group exhibition that looks at a variety of ways that artists use text, or allow their work to reference and be informed by words or books as the building blocks for an object or image. The featured artists approach text in a variety of ways; as pure matter, as metaphor, as specific content, as texture or atmosphere, and as concept. By bringing these different but related works together, ‘Snippets’ presents a visual conversation between the participating artists on these same issues, connecting through ideas of language.

Additional photos can be found at Snippets: Visual Text