Sunday, May 2, 2010

Portfolio Review

This morning I participated in a another portfolio review that was hosted by a Boston area Art Association, after participating in them previously in 2009 and in 2008.

For anyone who doesn't know what a Portfolio Review is: "The Portfolio Review is an opportunity to receive serious one-on-one critiques (each lasting twenty minutes) from gallery owners, museum curators, and influential experts in the art field."

This year my portfolio reviewers consisted of one curator who recently worked at a well known and respected Rhode Island Art Museum, a curator/educator/artist from a university in the southern USA, and the third is the gallery manager of a well known and respected Boston art gallery that was established in the 1970's.

This year I brought with me nine pieces of new work. Seven are mounted on boards (one of my Slivers of Fences series, two of my Patterns in Fences series, two from Traces of Past Fences, and two Fence Details), and two pieces created with stiffened fabric (one Weathered Fences series and one Walls from Fences series). I wanted to show larger work and smaller work, in (ever so) slightly different mediums. And, I also brought my portfolio which I presented on an ipad.

I found that presenting my work on the ipad was easy to use and look at because it's really easy to flip from page to page at your convenience just by moving your finger across the screen. Definitely worth the investment! (Last year I had a printed portfolio, but I think the digital quality looks much better than what I get from my printer, and there's no ink or paper expense when using an ipad.)

Last year I mentioned here on this blog that "All three reviewers suggested I try to create some three dimensional work, to push past what I'm doing. It wasn't a criticism of my work, just a suggestion to take advantage of the relationship between the role of the construction fences and my work. Words like "installation" and "sculpture" came up all three times. Very interesting!"

This year I showed the three reviewers, who are different that those from last year, pictures from my installation in the Studios Without Walls (that is on exhibit now), along with the Weathered Fences piece I brought (so they could touch it and see through the holes), and they all responded very well about both, and encouraged me to do more installations. One also suggested a specific residency program that she thought I should investigate, and I will. I found it interesting that all three reviewers (even though one was from a museum, one from a gallery, and one a combo) were all were interested in installations, even though they focus on different kinds of work and exhibit spaces.

They also responded nicely to my work on boards, and I was relieved that the word quilt only came up when I give a short explanation of how my work has changed in the past year. I had met with the curator/educator/artist from a university at the portfolio review two years ago, so I was very excited to show her how my work has changed and how it hasn't, and she was very supportive.

If you ever have the opportunity to participate in a portfolio review, I suggest you do. You will learn a lot about yourself, your art, how you communicate about your art, and how professionals in the art world relate to your work.

To be perfectly honest, when I participated in 2008, I got a migraine immediately afterward because I was so stressed out from the experience. Last year I left feeling a little confused about my work because I had no idea how to think about possibly doing an installation, and I also was concerned about the way the reviewers responded to my quilting, even if my work was about the printmaking and painting. This year I left feeling very good about my decision to stop quilting, that I'm mounting some work on boards, and I've started working with installations too. Today I also felt much more comfortable talking about my work, and asking for input, so no migraine this time.

I look forward to doing another portfolio review, in Boston in two weeks, through a different organization. I have asked to have at least one or two art consultants as my reviewers. I hope I do get to talk to them because they look at work in a totally different way.

My next step is to send each of my reviewers a thank-you note, and I will take all of their advice under consideration, and try to think of ways to use their suggestions in a way that it feels comfortable to me.