Sunday, February 10, 2019

The Sketchbook Exhibit

Sketches by Emily Manning-Mingle

This is How It Starts is a new concept exhibit featuring sketchbooks at Cambridge Art Association's Kathryn Schultz Gallery. The show opened Thursday 2/7 and runs until 2/27.  Yesterday a reception was held from 11-1 PM and well attended by an enthusiastic crowd of artists, families, friends and art lovers.  It was fun for me to see some many people engage with each book. 

Sketchbook by Susan Byrne

I had the honor of jurying this show and was delighted by the quality and diversity of the work submitted. I commend all the artists who bravely brought their sketchbooks forth. Handling each book is like entering a sacred sanctuary as artists' sketchbooks can be very personal and private.  

Sketches by Roz Sommer

Despite the differences in process, media and mark-making, a few themes emerged: figures, abstraction, landscape, collage and botanicals. My aim was to come up with an inspiring show of cohesive diversity.  Do see the exhibit, engage with the books and loose sketches and celebrate the mystery and magic that emerges when artists are at play. 

Award winner Mick Provencher with Erin Becker & me.
Mick has two sketchbooks in the show.

Rom Sommer award winner.  See her work in the image above.

My juror statement:
“The portable studio,” is how Richard Diebenkorn defined his sketchbook. Andrew Wyeth referred to his sketches as his “messy side” and debated letting them out of the studio.  A sketchbook is a pad or book of paper for drawing according to the Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary.   In the hands of an artist these blank sheets of paper are transformed into personal artistic meditations.
In a first ever exhibit This is How it Starts we enter the inner sanctum of private scribbles, exploration of ideas and celebration of play by 24 talented artists.  Each has a distinctive and personal process chosen from a wide variety of materials and techniques.  The interplay of the conscious line to sub-conscious doodles meld as this ritual is practiced. 
The hands-on craft of creativity is evident, as is the innate curiosity to experiment and the capacity to wonder in each artists’ mark-making.  Here we witness the endeavors of form, shape, and line as well as circling in on intriguing projects.
As artists we spend inordinate amounts of solo time mysteriously working in our studios.  Yet we share a strong need to engage with other creatives.  In this exhibit the sketchbooks are linked by the process and motivation as artists commit ideas to paper.  And each in turn unveils the mystery by welcoming the viewer to peek through the keyhole of the studio door.  
It was years after Diebenkorn’s death that his wife Phyllis decided his 29 sketchbooks should be shared with the public.  I thank all the artists who courageously reveal their sketchbooks for this exhibit. 

Sketchbook by Martha Chasson-Sokol

I also wish to thank Erin Becker, Norma Jean Calderwood Director of Cambridge Art Association, Rebecca  Schnopp, assistant director and members of the exhibition committee for the honor to jury This is How It Starts.  

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