Catching up

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mdmattin
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Catching up

Post by mdmattin » Sat Nov 23, 2019 12:54 am

Hey everybody,
I feel like I've been neglecting Sketching Forum lately, but as Russ said, the pendulum swings back eventually. My big news is that I retired (well, semi-retired- I'm still coming in a couple days/week for a while) from my IT job at the University of Massachusetts back in August. That coincided with a whole slew of art-related and other events and projects, so I've been just as busy if not more so - just with other things. I had been contemplating retirement for some time before then, and had been trying to get into the local art scene as much as I could, anticipating a time when I could go at it full time. This strategy seems to be working out - I've been in a number of juried shows, gotten some awards, and most importantly started to make some friends and participate in the art community.
The solo show at the UMass Science and Engineering Library went up in September, with the opening reception on October 23, which went well, with some of my new artist acquaintances showing up, which was very gratifying.

SEL wall 1.jpg
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Sketchbooks.jpg
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An assortment of sketchbooks going back a few years. The cylindrical tower in the lower right center was done during a wonderful afternoon spent looking at art and sketching with Rebecca at the Legion of Honor museum in San Francisco.

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The makings of my sketchbooks.

Horratio.jpg
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Hor:ratio and the math behind it - I heard that that the bona fide math people frequenting the Science and Engineering Library actually took an interest in this.

tall cabinet.jpg
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Perspective related projects

At the same time, I had pieces in two juried shows, in Somers, CT, and Ware, MA, getting Merit and Honorable Mention awards respectively. When these shows came down, I rotated the pieces into the solo show.

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horizons sm.jpg
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Horizons 600px.jpg
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This is a revisitation of a smaller drawing I did for James Gurney's Six Word Story challenge. I alway thought there was something funky about the front wheel, so this time I put more thought and care into the perspective on the bike.

The Way Back Ware .jpg
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Then, this month, I got to be on the other side, having been invited as a co-juror for the Agawam Friends of the Library show. This was a very interesting experience and quite a bit of work, as we had to prepare and deliver a presentation at the reception on the pieces we had chosen.

Besides all of this logistical juggling, I have been doing some actual artwork - I'll post that over on the Gallery.

Matthew

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Andre Jute
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Re: Catching up

Post by Andre Jute » Sat Nov 23, 2019 4:13 am

Congratulations on your successes, Matthew. I especially like the mathematicians and engineers coming to look at your magic. Converting the mechanical classes to culture must earn you brownie points in heaven.
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Rebecca
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Re: Catching up

Post by Rebecca » Tue Dec 03, 2019 7:43 pm

I especially appreciate hearing jurors spell out their reasoning for award choices. I bet yours was super interesting.
Sometimes, as the art maker, I wonder how out of touch I am with the art appreciators. Juror talks help. I'm sure you, as another artist, might add to the art appreciators' understanding of our (the artists') side.
Rebecca

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mdmattin
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Re: Catching up

Post by mdmattin » Thu Dec 05, 2019 1:59 am

Jurying was an intense experience - there were various competing concerns to try to balance. The show was a community event as well as an artistic competition, so there was a bias in favor on inclusion of people's work even if it didn't rise to the highest level of technical perfection. In the end we only rejected three out of 89 entries, of which two were by people that had other work accepted. Even so, one of these contacted the organizers to find out why one was left out, and we agreed to discuss it with the artist at the opening. We tried to be encouraging while being honest about the ways in the work fell short.
Awarding the prizes was tough - it wasn't hard to pick out the work that shone in terms of concept, design, or technique, but ranking them into first, second and third prizes in each category, plus honorable mentions, and then selecting the best in show, required quite a bit of deliberation, and we didn't have a lot of time to do it. We did try to recognize artists that had tried to do something original or deeply meaningful to them, as well as those who had professional-level technical chops.
Meanwhile, a library patron had taken strong exception to a nude (actually a rather demure semi-nude, IMHO, and a lovely painting) and we had to justify that choice to the library (the subject is reading a book, so they should totally support it!).
I wish more shows would have juror talks - I really appreciated it when I was a participant (and an award winner) last year, and I often wish I could hear from the jurors in other shows, regardless of whether I won anything or not.
Another nice thing this show did was to provide name tags for the artists, so you could seek them out at the reception.
Matthew

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Re: Catching up

Post by snippety » Thu Dec 05, 2019 7:32 am

Funky front wheel - i love the hair - up and still flowing with the wind from the wonderful world of bike riding!! ( it reminds me how ive neglected my bike)

you have captured that moment so brilliantly - and with all the world at her feet. 'transitioning' into 'retirement' - you seem to have mastered segued with a great plan.

Does anyone remember the teachers stamps kept in the drawer - if you were lucky and a good student you got a stamp which read - Excellent!

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Re: Catching up

Post by Rebecca » Fri Dec 06, 2019 7:20 pm

mdmattin wrote:
Thu Dec 05, 2019 1:59 am
Jurying was an intense experience - there were various competing concerns to try to balance...We tried to be encouraging while being honest about the ways in the work fell short...We did try to recognize artists that had tried to do something original or deeply meaningful to them, as well as those who had professional-level technical chops.
Meanwhile, a library patron had taken strong exception to a nude (actually a rather demure semi-nude, IMHO, and a lovely painting) and we had to justify that choice to the library (the subject is reading a book, so they should totally support it!)...Another nice thing this show did was to provide name tags for the artists, so you could seek them out at the reception.
I've acted as juror, too. It's a fearsome power to have over sincere offerings.

I wonder how you know that a piece is deeply meaningful to an entrant? Did submissions come with statements? After hearing endless stories about the deep meaning behind all sorts of genre, much of it non-objective, I think a large portion of art is intended that way. Sadly, a lot of intended meaning isn't conveyed due to distractions by content or execution. Intention might be what you detected, but perhaps the execution was not in sync with the meaning?

It's hard to find a venue for nudes. I wonder what the library patron would say about a display of ancient Greek statues? Or works by Michelangelo? And Rodin? The list goes on. Americans can be such prudes.

I like name tags, too, but potential buyers always get priority over my attempts to strike up or hold a conversation. :wink:
Rebecca

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