While there is no getting away from the fact that “jurying” artwork is a decidedly subjective endeavor, it is mediated by experience. In my case experience based on a long and intense study of the history of art and more recently, several years of working as a curator. In my work, I am continually asking the question, “What makes a work of art compelling?” Close looking and the assessment of composition, technique, and use of materials are certainly important. There are also questions of how the work engages with particular ideas and process. Finally, I sought to explore how successful the works were at conveying a strong sense of identity either through developing implicit concepts or through expressing an explicit visual language. I weighed each of these elements in my decision-making process.
Durango Art Center’s 42nd Juried Exhibition includes a wide range of media including ceramics, collage, photography, drawing, fiber arts, mixed media, painting, printmaking and sculpture. With nearly three hundred submissions, the diversity of work submitted by local and national artists provided for a difficult yet exciting challenge. Particular trends such as the intersection of materials, engagement with the idea of place, and works that contend with particular social issues emerged as the selection process progressed. The exhibition is decidedly contemporary and reflects an exciting moment in the arts filled with questioning and experimentation that will undoubtedly continue to expand conceptions of what art is.