Thursday, September 16, 2010
The Days Grow Short When We Reach September
The Photographer and The Painter outside the Gallery on Opening Night...
Posted by Rich- When a gallery show is finally hung, it is amazing how brief the time seems where the work is actually on display all together. It seems especially short when I consider how long John and I have been working on developing the exhibition concept, and working on our individual contributions.
The reaction to the work on display seems to be mostly positive, although I found the attendance at the opening reception itself to be disappointing. Actually, “disappointing” would be an understatement. There were a few periods during the reception on Saturday night when the gallery felt like a diorama before the mannequins are installed. I arrived over an hour late, and John assures me that between 5 and 6 PM the joint was jumping, but attendance was pretty sparse after that. We did have well over a hundred visitors to the gallery that day, however, and both John and I sold work ( the little paintings of the Lambertville-New Hope Bridge went quick! Thinking I might do some more…)
Personally, I feel more at ease when there aren’t a lot of people milling around, and I have never felt comfortable being in the spotlight; the group show openings are much more enjoyable to me, or attending the opening receptions of the other members of the gallery. One of the reasons: I don’t think I am ever 100% satisfied with my work on display. I often want to keep working on it, and have actually taken work down off the wall during the week and spruced it up before the gallery re-opens on the weekend.
Like the previous exhibitions I’ve done at the Artists’ Gallery, I was working right up until the last minute to get the body of work completed on time for the show. This time though, it was really the very last minute, and I hesitated at inviting a lot of people to something I wasn’t positive was going to be at all worth looking at.
Fortunately, John had used his photo of Hot Dog Johnny’s roadside stand in Northwest New Jersey as a publicity piece, and the work struck a nostalgic chord in a good number of patrons who showed up to see it. I had considered doing a watercolor of the same place, but I’m glad I didn’t spend any time working on one; John’s photo of the place is so good, I think any painting would pale by comparison. As a matter of fact, after seeing the publicity for the exhibition, a nephew of the original owner of Hot Dog Johnny’s came in to look at John’s photo as well.
The concept for this exhibition will not end when we take the work down on October 4th; There are still a great many places in New jersey I want to visit and see what I can find to create paintings from. The Bendix Diner, of course, is still on my list, and I’d also like to see where Les Paul lived in Mahwah.
The time for the actual exhibition will end the first weekend of October, but I will be creating a lot more work based on New Jersey and hopefully have another exhibition of the New Jersey Blues with John in the future. One thing became evident as we worked on this show: the State of New Jersey is a lot bigger than it seems, and underneath the layers of four lane expressways, strip malls, and jug-handle left turns, it is also much more interesting than it appears.