Thursday, June 13, 2013


What is there to the art of critiquing art? In mid-August, my gallerist husband Ron and I will evaluate some 400 entries in the annual "Art in the Redwoods" juried exhibition at Gualala Arts Center in Northern California. I have grown to love the small coastal town of Gualala, since my honeymoon there, long ago. Ron and I feel lucky to call ourselves part-timers, now that we spend several months a year in residence, there.

In the past, judging for the art show has consisted of panels of two, three, or more jurors. One brave printmaker from the Midwest took on the job single-handedly in 2012. There was controversy following the results, which is, I think, built into the contest. Gualalans know each other. In Mendocino County, painting, drawing, pottery, sculpture, photography, stitchery and jewelry-making are serious enterprises. Certain artists have followings and reputations. So the community pays close attention at awards time. What’s more, tourist purchases of art contribute to the economy. Admittedly, no commodity can compete with the area's notorious cash crop: marijuana. If creativity thrives at the intersection of weed and artistic inclination, Mendocino’s really got it goin' on.

It was an honor to be asked to judge “Art in the Redwoods” this year. The Dammann team has signed on enthusiastically. But not naively.  Art appreciation being largely subjective, even with a strong academic or experiential foundation, what impresses me might leave you cold. 
Here are some of the criteria I will apply to each entry:
Involve me. Move me. Innovate. Express. Organize. Be elegant. Or not. Be brave. Evoke. Provoke. Show craftsmanship. Make unmistakable your point of view. Or make me guess. Shout. Whisper. Tease me. Surprise me. Inspire me.
With eyes wide open (the best way to view art), I will make my assessment and stand by it. What’s the worst that could happen?

Stay tuned!

Art in the Redwoods – August 17 and 18, 2013 - Gualala Arts Center