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Re: Criticism/ Rejection: Some Thoughts

Thoughts, in three parts...

There's an article in the Sept. 2000 issue of ARTnews called "How to learn
to stop worrying and love the art you don't understand". The interesting
similarity that ran through the comments of all the critics they interviewed
was the element of time - that they weren't drawn to some work right away,
or on first glance actively disliked it, but that given time their
appreciation for some pieces changed and/or deepened. Also, learning more
background on the work/artist added to the experience as well.

I'm curious how this relates to trying to juring books (or any artwork) for
an exhibition from slides. Is the trend toward jurying books more from
actual work, as they do at Northwest Bookfest? Also, how often are written
statements by the artist used? (On the Bookfest application you were allowed
30 words total to describe materials, binding style, and concept.)


>    In regard to our ongoing discussion, if anyone would care to comment
>about my books I would be interested to hear.
>    Emily Martin

Emily was brave enough to offer her work up for some practical application
of the ideas brought forth in the "criticism" thread and I was a little
surprised that there wasn't one comment. Then I realized that it was only
possible for me to offer an opinion because I've been able to see her work
first hand and was able to physically engage with it. A difference from the
type of binding Richard does, which seems to translate well in a photograph.
(Although I suspect I'd realize how much doesn't translate if I could see a
piece in person...)

Anyway, about her books (and I'm probably in way over my head here, as I am
not a critic.., but, as they say, I know what I like...),

The thing that I've always appreciated about Emily's work is its sincerity
and simplicity. Simplicity seems like an odd word, as many of the pieces
employ structures that are pretty complex and unconventional, but they have
that feel for me. After seeing scads of artist's books full of stream of
consciousness, free association word threads (not that there's anything
Wrong with that...), it's a nice break to visit a 'place' by engaging with
one of Emily's books. This isn't to say that the pieces aren't
thought-provoking - they're extremely effective. The structures don't come
across as gimmick-y, but rather as reflecting the complexity and hidden
layers of domestic life and plain-looking landscape. Also, being acquainted
with Emily, I can see how they reflect her sense of curiosity as well.


>Without "craft" or "artisanship" there is no quality

I was interested to see the difference in work here in the Northwest, where
there seems to be an emphasis on 'artisanship' and the artist's books at
Printed Matter in New York, where so much of the work is conceptual, with
the 'artisanship' of the binding of little or no consequence. I certainly
saw much of it as very interesting, 'quality' work.

>The simple truth (I believe) is that craftmanship, artisanship, and quality
art are >all the same thing

I would have to say that in our part of the world (very rural Eastern
Oregon, in a town known best for a big rodeo...) there are plenty of
technically proficient painters/sculptors who make some of the most boring
work I've ever seen. (Although the mass market gobbles it up - Thomas
Kincade posters in every room).


Pendleton, Oregon

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