Bringing it All Home

Top of Incinerator Sculpture showing out of cardboard box


Backstage is my beat: Barebones. Unbuttoned. A tad askew. Lighted only for tasks. Focus with chuckles, where the magic gestates.

The intake of artwork for a large group exhibit feels eerily grounded, though: tables staffed with worker bees for check-in, piles of postcards, volunteer sign-ups. Paperwork to initial. Friendly gestures for where to put the rising tide of boxes, canvasses, and incipient installations. (“Somewhere in the back corner where it will be safe. Mind the wet paint!”)

Last week I delivered my “Homefire 1957” ceramic incinerator sculpture to the Pajaro Valley Arts Gallery for their “Home” exhibit. The joint was hoppin’ with backstage purposefulness. I found a safe shelf for it and snapped that shot up top.

Then I walked slowly around each of the gallery’s rooms, scoping out the bigger pieces leaning against the walls as well as the smaller works perched here and there, stopping to chat with more than a few friendly faces and enjoying the works that that were still flowing in. It was a happy medley, but I was only there for 20 minutes tops. Get in, Do It, Get out of the way.

And that’s how it begins. With the artwork in the house, the team of curators will turn backstage into center stage. I imagine them joyfully unwrapping and sharing their discoveries, intent on finding the echos, complements or interesting contrasts among them in order to create display groupings with subtle flows, whispering the exhibit’s theme of “Explorations of the Concept of HOME.” Hanging a show is also an art and I would enjoy being a butterfly on the picture rail watching it take place.

–Liz Crain,¬†who enjoys fostering the big picture from a bunch of smaller ones, too.

N.B. This is the first post of a series intent upon describing what happens before-during-after an art exhibit from a participant’s POV – drop-off to pick-up – as too often we seem to hear only about an event’s grand opening, and there is so much more to it than that! This series will parallel another one dedicated to describing the incinerator sculpture I put in this show and how it connects to HOME. Next week I will start to link these posts to each other, but first I have to write them!

Exhibit Details: “HOME” Member’s Exhibit 2016, July 6 – August 7, Opening Reception July 10th 2-4PM, ¬†Pajaro Valley Arts, Gallery, 37 Sudden St., Watsonville, CA

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2 thoughts on “Bringing it All Home

  1. what a great idea, Liz to write about the many facets of being involved with showing your work in a particular exhibit, and how a show is launched. There is so much to it! It will be interesting to follow along. I’m delivering a piece next week to a group show, so your words bring a new perspective to my experience.

    1. Oh Goodie! We can do this in step. Yes, there is so much more than even I am aware of, but it’s good to try to take it all in.

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