Wednesday, April 20, 2016

A History of Shows

A Selection of Pieces from My 1st Show
This October, I will be hanging my 10th original solo show. I've had more shows than that over the years but I'm just counting those times when an entirely new set of artworks first debuted to the public.

My very first show (May 2002) was entitled Menagerie and featured a series of creatures created in wire, polymer clay, beads, and charms. I was working on my studio art degree at Humboldt State University and I answered a call for portfolios and artist statements. Those portfolios were reviewed and from those submissions, a group of students were chosen to have solo shows in venues around campus. For my "portfolio," I chose to make a handmade storybook that featured photos of the clay characters I had been making alongside an original story that linked all of the pieces. For the show, I mounted the pieces in a line on black velvet-wrapped boards and together, they represented a story from dawn to dusk.

It took a long time for me to do my second show. I had moved from polymer clay work to mixed media canvases with an Oriental flare. The canvases were piling up and at some point, I worked up the nerve to take some of them into a local business that participates in the monthly art walk in my hometown. I just walked in without notice, paintings wrapped in brown paper, and asked if they would be interested in having them on their walls. I booked a show on the spot. (Here's my blog account of that moment from way back in 2007.) 
Show Signage Over the Years

I am now in the development stage for my 10th new body of work. My ideas are exciting and I can barely wait for the free time to see those ideas become reality. (Just eight weeks until summer vacation!)

My basic goal for each show is to push myself in new directions. I knew right from the start that I didn't want to present the same style, technique or theme every year as many artists do. At this point, the place in town where I regularly debut my new work has no idea what I'm hanging one year to the next. And yet, they say that no matter how different the theme or medium, all my various shows "still look like me." I love that! It gives me tremendous freedom to play, to take risks, to expand beyond my "box" and past my fears.

3 comments:

Özge Başağaç said...

Hello Michelle, i hope you are doing fine:) I was the one who was very curious about the preparation for a show. I am so glad you have started sharing your experience about it.For me it is pure magic. I feel so happy to read and learn about the process.I am sure your next show will be a great success, whatever you choose it to be.May the force be with you... :)

Anonymous said...

Those clay figures are fantastic! I can't wait to see where this 10th show leads you.
-Ellie

Loulou in Texas said...

I enjoyed viewing your menagerie and the signage for your past shows. The importance of good signage like yours sets just the right the stage for your artwork. I look forward to seeing where your imagination leads you for the October show!

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