eI may have upset the statuesque here in Boise. The galleries in my smallish capital city are mostly co-ops or membership galleries. These galleries usually pop up because traditional galleries are not taking up-and-coming artists and mid career artists. There are a few traditional galleries, but for this size of town that isn’t very many. I have submitted my work for consideration to become a member for all the co-op galleries here in Boise. Not only did I get a NO, I’ve received pure revulsion when it came to critiquing my work. There was no mention that I use tissue paper to sculpt an intricate piece of art. And marginalizing the fact that the paintings are 3D and actually protrude from the canvas. It felt as if it was not a critique at all, but a denouncement.
So I had to ask myself why. Why would a jury for a small town new and mid career art co-op gallery be so repulsed by my art? Especially when the public loves my work with comments like; you are amazing, you have by far the best art at the show, and your work is unbelievable. I even encountered a woman crying while looking at my paintings. I asked her, “why are you crying?” She said, “because your work is so beautiful.” I have also sold art in other galleries and shows all over the nation. My work sells for top dollar and I always have to paint more to keep up with demand.
The only logical answer is I upset the statuesque here in this town. These galleries contain art in many styles, but mostly traditional art. Many of the artists have studied art and have a degree. Many certainly have an idea what art should look like, and my art is so unique it’s hard for them to wrap there head around. As if to say, I don’t acknowledge this as recognizable art, so it’s a NO from me. In most cases I have received a quiet NO. But, in a couple of different showings, I have received jaw dropping criticism. So bad, it took me back a bit. My first thought was “do they do that to everyone?” I don’t think so. I have never heard from any artist (I know many artists in this town) that this has happened to. In fact most artists tell me try it again, it took me a couple of times to get in. Well, if they had received a critique like mine, most artists would have crawled under a rock and gave up art all together. So, I really don’t think they received such a bashing. Besides, I have tried a couple of times, but the critiques get worse the better the artist I become.
My thoughts for the reason this mauling occurred and the constant NOs: My work would elevate the galleries too much and the artists would have to step up their game. If you are an insecure artist or an artist that might not be selling and you have a selling artist that comes in, I would say it might make you feel bad. It might make me feel bad. This experience is actually an acknowledgment that my work is so threatening that it would upset the statuesque, and this town is so stuck in its ways that is cannot embrace something different.
I will mosey on my way and continue what I am doing; showing in prestige’s galleries like Amsterdam Whitney International Fine Art Gallery in New York, Stephan Gallery in Anchorage, and Mountain Trails Gallery in Jackson Hole.
Michelle Larsen Fine Art, Prescott, Arizona, 3D Sculpted Mixed Media Tissue Paper Paintings