Schick Art Gallery

2014 Juried Skidmore Student Exhibition
February  6 – March 14, 2014
Opening reception: Thursday, February 6, 5:30 – 7 p.m.

Juror: Sanford Mirling
Sculptor; Visiting Assistant Professor at Middlebury College; Co-founder of Collar Works art space in Troy, NY

A highlight of the Schick calendar and the community at large, the Juried Student Exhibition invariably celebrates the creativity, imagination, and skill of Skidmore art students.

Each year, a guest juror selects the exhibition from work completed by Skidmore students in the areas of ceramics, drawing and painting, electronic media, fiber arts, graphic design, jewelry and metals, installation, photography, printmaking, and sculpture. This year, there were 215 individual works submitted. From this group, Sanford Mirling, the 2014 juror, selected 67 pieces for inclusion in the exhibit, and nine to receive awards.

Every year, our juror also writes a statement about the jurying process. Read Mirling's statement here.
 

Juror's Statement

As I write this, my first inclination is to apologize.
 
I want to apologize to the incredibly skilled students who are not represented in this show. As tough as it was to pass over some remarkably gifted draftsmen, painters, ceramicists, photographers, and graphic designers, jurying a show is about taste. In this case, my taste. Technical proficiency plays an extremely important role in the creation of a work of art, but art requires craftsmanship in order to mirror and support concept. As a teacher evaluating work, I often find it hard to avoid distractions like effort, progress, and the potential of a given student’s work. What makes this show so exciting is my lack of knowledge of these factors; I am freed to judge these pieces not as ‘student art,’ but simply as art.
 
With what felt like a relatively short amount of time to view each of the 215 artworks submitted for consideration, the pieces within this show represent the images and objects that grabbed hold of me and didn’t let go.   Which is exactly how it should be. We, as artists, are always in competition. Competition with each other, yes, but more importantly with the world. Our work competes for attention against a relentless bombardment of images and information. A well-known and often cited study from 2001 by Jeffrey and Lisa Smith at the Metropolitan Museum of Art found patrons look at any given piece of art for an average of 17 seconds. While this never ceases to amaze and infuriate me, put in context of our normal consumption of information, it begins to make sense. 17 seconds is over half the typical timeslot for a Super Bowl commercial, nearly as long as 3 Vine videos put together, and probably close to the length of time it takes to read 140 characters, let alone re-tweet them.
 
Given the tiny window of time allotted for capturing the attention of an audience, a piece needs a confident voice and an upfront attitude. It needs to be a little cocky. As if that weren’t enough, it also helps if it exposes a little about who you are. The weird bits are usually best. (For many of the pieces in this show, I feel like I now know something personal about the artist.)
None of this is to say a work can’t also reveal itself over time. The best pieces always do. Winnie Vaughan’s 'Brandon, Orion, Sage' and Rachael Greenfield’s 'Knees' are two works that did just that. Both possess a quality I find absolutely compelling. I love it when a piece of art clearly expresses its desire to tell me “something,” but that “something” is complex enough that I can’t understand it right away. It challenges me and I get hooked. I might only give it 17 seconds, but it stays with me after I look away, and I have to go back again. These two pieces were not favorites of mine at the beginning of the day, but I kept returning to them, and they won me over.
 
It is also possible for confidence and upfront-ness to express seemingly contradictory concepts, like subtlety (think Rachel Ajamie’s 'Condition,') or naivete, as demonstrated by Bailey Farrell’s 'Reece and Abby.' And upfront-ness doesn’t always mean straightforwardness. Kate Biel’s 'Lillian' and Layla Durrani’s 'Frances' both appear to express intriguing narratives, and neither do I presume to understand. But as I said before, I keep trying to, and I love that.
 
All the students who submitted work to this show are on the right track. Exposing your hard work and passion to a juror, and potentially the public, requires a great deal of confidence, and those of you who made work that seemed too technically-driven for my taste - you are probably ahead of the game. You have honed a skill to be applied at your command. I hope some of you can appreciate the boldness I found in the works of your fellow students, and also see this show for what it is - one man’s cocky opinion.
 
I’d like to thank all the students who participated, and of course the Skidmore Art Faculty and Rebecca Shepard for including me in this process.
 
Sanford Mirling
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 Click here to visit  Sanford Mirling website

 
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