Schick Art Gallery

Skidmore Student Exhibition 2006
Juror's Statement

January 31 - February 21, 2006
Reception: January 31, 6:30-8:00 pm

So much good work and so little space! I have juried many shows before, and it is always difficult to choose across disciplines.   All the different processes are the least of it. The intentions are very different, as are their histories. To be honest and fair to the diverse disciplines this juror considered the works' merits, as best I could, within their own field. Still, I had to ask myself, does big painting grab my attention more than tiny jewelry simply because it is big? Is it because I am an artist trained to look at painting and sculpture?

Ironically, my own art has taken me in many similar directions as in the show. Recently I have been rather deeply involved in creating a crown encrusted with real gems and producing ceramics with weird functions. I've suddenly been invited to make prints by many print houses, quite out of the blue. When I was in art school, for a while there, I thought I was going to be a graphic designer. I enjoyed it a lot, (and secretly I think it made my mother happy- I could earn a living!) But I left that for sculpture and photography, which I still do today. Painting was never in the cards for me- it was my mother's terrain. When I was in school, installation hadn't been invented yet, or at least it hadn't gotten to art schools yet. So I did them on my own, along with performances (thinking I had invented something!).

Conceptual art was as distant as New York is from California. It was hot on the West Coast, but not on cool East Coast college campuses. These days, so many years later, I consider myself a conceptual artist with a bent towards installation. As a conceptual artist it is helpful to know many disciplines. A conceptual artist starts with an idea and privileges it above a particular material of art. Any material is fair game in making art, as long as the idea calls for it. This opens up the possibilities for making things, and making meaning. It also has its drawbacks. These days, a conceptual artist never (or rarely) gets a deep knowledge of a particular material or art making process. Knowing your materials and art making processes is very satisfying to many, many artists, and is important in communicating ideas, reaching a sublime image and a range of emotions. However, we conceptual artists get all that we need to sustain our passion and curiosity through the openness of the idea and the endless possibilities of material form, even if, or especially if, you don't make a thing yourself.

Being a conceptual artist and having experienced all the various disciplines in one way or another in my own practice has made choosing the works for this exhibition more interesting and more complicated. Concepts of beauty, the importance of meaning, and notions of power differ between disciplines. So jurying this diverse show was as fun as it was difficult. In addition it was difficult because as an artist I know what rejection is like - all artists do: not much fun, I might add, but I had to draw the line somewhere. Certainly you learn the more you show your work, that different jurors will choose different things, sometimes the same juror will choose different things according to how he or she is feeling that day, or what they ate or how they slept; you never know. I had to leave out a few folks whose works just didn't fit. I didn't want the gallery to burst!

Thanks to all the students who submitted, and congratulations to those that are in the show. I know that this art was made in the social context of student interaction as well as faculty instruction. With all the good art created it is clear that you all should share in the enjoyment of this exhibition, as you all are a part of its success, in different ways.

Fred Wilson, Juror