Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Beyond Comfort: Declined

Rock Painting
Acrylic sheeting layers, Acrylic Paint, Hand Tied
Terry Jarrard-Dimond

A few months ago I found information about an exciting juried exhibition titled: BEYOND COMFORT. The show is sponsored by the Studio Art Quilt Association. Just this morning I received my rejection email and I am genuinely disappointed.

The theme as stated in the prospectous: This exhibit challenges each artist to venture into uncharted territories of creative expression by turning away from the comfort zones of their established body of work. It provides a "permission slip" to experiment fearlessly with radically new conceptual and narrative agendas; to employ techniques, technologies, or materials new to the artist. The artistic goal of the exhibition is to encourage reaching beyond comfort to make new and unexpected works of art.

Rock Painting - detail

While my exploration was not accepted, I applaud the concept and look forward to seeing the work that was choosen for this forward thinking approach to making art. I feel this is exactly what needs to be happening in our medium and I believe it is happening.

Acrylic sheeting layers, Acrylic Paint, Hand stitching
Terry Jarrard-Dimond

New and innovative work which is based on "out of the box" concepts, materials, and processes will never replace all that has come before, it only added flavor and spice.

One of the criteria for the work entered into the show was that it meet the definition of an art quilt as established by SAQA. That definition reads: a contemporary artwork exploring and expressing aesthetic concerns common to the whole range of visual arts; painting, printmaking, photography, graphic design, assemblage and sculpture, which retains, through materials or technique, a clear relationship to the folk art quilt from which it descends.

Monsoon - detail

I created three works for this compeition and entered two of the three. One of the pieces which I wrote about recently, was titled Abandoned. I decided not to enter it as I felt it had moved too far away from the idea of a quilt. The two other works, Monsoon and Rock Painting, did satisfy the criteria so were sent for the jury.

Despite not being selected to participate in the show, I still think it's a great concept and is well received. The premiere location will be at the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham, England in August 2011.

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  1. I think they are AMAZING! Sometime juries need to have their heads examined!!

  2. Thanks Ishia! I'm reading and thinking a good deal right now about how work is perceived. It's always interesting. I appreciate your support!

  3. These are wonderful, Terry. I am curious now about what the judges were looking for.

  4. I, too, did not get in and was excited to explore an idea that I had. I am going to enter mine in Mary McBride's Volusia Wrapped in Fiber. Sort of the same theme. Hope you will too.

    I like the work you have done. I know of two whose work got in - one fits the theme, in my mind, the other, not so much!!

  5. I have stopped making work specifically for themed shows; if I have something that fits, fine. If not, so be it. Sorry you were disappointed, but I suspect you are in good company, Terry.

    Jurors have their own tastes, agendas, and ideas. Go figure.

  6. I have no idea what criteria on which the pieces were judged, but I love these - especially the warm one. It is really striking!

  7. Many thanks to Gerrie, Rayna and Jan for your supportive comments. I have been thinking about writing a piece about juried shows and what to think about them. This is just another piece of the puzzle. To Rayna, I generally don't enter themed shows but I did this time because the theme is close to my heart.

  8. Fist of all - congrats on stepping out of your comfort zone and being successful! I find them quite interesting! That said I'm always amazed at what makes it in shows and what doesn't. I wish I could just go up to some jurors and say - "Seriously???????"

  9. That's funny! Places should Refugee shows. Is that spelled right? Anyway, side by side. A show of what was selected and what was not selected. Thank you for visiting and for commenting.

  10. Did you mean referee? I am confused by refugee.

  11. It should say "réfugié" meaning all the things that have been rejected.

  12. Hi Terry,

    Congrats on taking a risk with your work and experimenting. I know it will not be in vain.

    By the by, as someone who has juried shows of paintings, I know that sometimes works are so strong that they are rejected because they don't fit in with the rest of the work or the juror's theme. The choice actually has nothing to do with rejection per se but with acceptance of the other works.

    I know it's no consolation to think about this stuff when you get that nasty letter in the mail.

  13. Might you do a post about how you made these?
    (I don't know what 'acrylic sheeting layers' are).

  14. Thanks to Nancy and My Croft! I have been thinking a great deal about writing an article on the topic of Juried shows and how that functions. I will be writing you Nancy because I consider your insights valuable. Your point of "the juror's theme" really resonates with me.

    My Croft, I will indeed write about the process for the two works. I'll even make some samples and photos....something I didn't do when I made the work presented here. I appreciate your interest.

  15. Something that I used to tell my writing students about coping with rejection was that pubishing is a business, not a club. There are a lot of business reasons why someone's work might get declined, some or all of which have little or nothing to do with the quality of the writing. When I was reading, I read a few things at the extraordinary ends of the spectrum (very, very good and very, very bad) and a lot of stuff that was in the middle and was good work. The criteria for selection often had more to with what fit into the publishing program than with the quality of the work read and, frankly, sometimes the choice between two equally good things for the last slot was rooted in luck (eeny, meeney, miney, moe, . . . ) But there were always objective reasons beyond liking/not liking, appropriate to standards (theme, established business practice, and such like) quality of craftsmanship, professionalism (meeting deadlines), originality/freshness, etc. I expect that many of these reasons are in play in art jurying as well.


  16. Nicely put! I believe you have stated the process as it is often practiced. I appreciate your thoughtful comment and willingness to share your experience. Thank you.