On conferences

conference doodle, 2012, Paula Kovarik

Just returned from the SAQA conference in Philadelphia and came away with conflicting feelings.

First, I loved talking with everyone, seeing the artwork and traveling to Philadelphia. But, why oh why did they choose to isolate us out in the burbs with all that Fiber Art in the city? If you can get over 200 women with money to a show in the burbs of Philadelphia (or the backwaters of Ohio for that matter) think of what you could do by offering a fuller palette?

ArtQuilt Elements felt crowded to me, maybe because it was opening night. The work was hung very closely together, so there wasn't too much time to breathe between works. Many pieces were inspirational and some were not... The Wayne Art Center is a beautiful gallery hidden in the middle of a fine subdivision in Wayne PA (what is it about galleries that show Art Quilts being in off the beaten track locations?) The discussion by the Jurors was enlightening and the work lived up to their praise in general.

FiberArt Philadelphia was an impressive gathering of some of the finest fiber art in the country. I think there was something for everyone at these shows. The beautiful, the mysterious, the angry and the downright twisted...a full palette of extraordinary works. I tend to be transfixed by the dark and poignant pieces. It's odd to me, my own work tries to go there but gets tripped up by whimsy. Maybe I am moving toward a new genre: dark whimsy.

Standouts for me were:
At the Inside/Outside the Box show: Magali Rizzo, Rachel Udell and April Dauscha
At the Snyderman-Works Galleries: I am awestruck by anything by Dorothy Caldwell, also rans were Carol Eckert, and Warren Seelig. The night before the show I drew the sketch above. An odd doppleganger of Mr. Seelig's work. Not sure why it came out of my head BEFORE seeing his pieces.
At the Wexler Gallery: Flore Gardner, Erin Endicott and Orly Cogan nibbled at the edges of my subconscious.

I'm sorry I didn't get to see the Sense of Place exhibit. And I enjoyed the panel on Sunday with Lorraine Glessner, Dominie Nash and Emily Richardson. Need to look into Emily's work more.

I can't find the card for that woman on the third floor of the church near the Crane building who was creating a transparent prison of diaphanous fabric. Loved the space and came away feeling like she may howl in there at night.  I would like to follow her work in the future. Did you get her card? or name? She was Australian.

So here is what I came back with:

  • I will not find the answer for my own artwork by looking at others.
  • I wish that there was more diversity in our crowd.
  • I could become friends with any of the serious fiber artists in that crowd.
  • The sense of commonality is enriching. It can also be stifling.
  • There are some serious artists out there who grab meaning from their work, not from their popularity with the public. I want to be one of them.
  • I'm tired of the whining about not being accepted in the art world.
  • I will seriously pursue my work and a solo show.