Friday, November 8, 2013

Difference and Repetition Art Show – commentary by Philip Willey.

Kate Scoones
Pete Kohut
 Rande Cook
Slide Room Reflections

I was at the Slide Room gallery today and I noticed somebody had left a lengthy comment. An artist who didn’t get invited to participate would be my guess. It was kind of snarky …but articulate. He or she did not think much of the curating. There was no name attached. It’s the kind of thing you see a lot on the internet. Throw a stone and run away.

But I can understand someone not wanting to put themselves in the spotlight. The other day Efren asked me for my opinion of the show. My first question was ‘are you going to quote me?’ Because I would be happy to give a general impression of the show but if you think I’m going to put my head on the block and start talking about individual artists and their work you will have a long wait. This is Victoria. It might make for entertaining reading but I don’t need the political problems.

The other thing is ….I have a painting in the show. I can hear the shouts of “Arrogance!” if I even suggest my painting may be better than someone else’s. Who does he think he is !?!  Who is he to judge !?!  And who is anyone to make judgments about quality in these days of  ‘ IT’S ALL GOOD ‘ ?

Speaking for myself (who else will do it?) I try to write balanced reviews. Artists want cheer-leaders basically so anything that suggests criticism is off limits. Hype is fine. People need to know that the work is out there. Artists want attention and they use gimmicks to get it but at the same time they want to be taken seriously. It’s a tightrope artists and art writers have to walk.

The Slide Room Show ? I think the basic idea was excellent. And it’s fascinating to see the way different people responded. The atmosphere at the opening was great.

Difference and repetition. Some stuck close to the Richter original. Some went their own ways. Some work is good some is not. I have curated shows myself and I know how difficult it can be. One needs to establish certain criteria which means making difficult choices. It’s not easy choosing which artists to include and which to leave out. Efren Quiroz has gone with an inclusive approach. He has chosen artists who represent different groups and factions and come up with a cross-section of the Victoria art-world. It’s a noble effort and the result says a lot about our vibrant art community.

Philip Willey is a visual artist and writer .
Difference and Repetition Art Exhibtion runs until Dec. 2, 2013  @ The Slide Room Gallery – 2459 Quadra St.

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