It has been a good experience for me to be involved with two group exhibitions in October/November this year. The first was with Bodenpress, the print studio that I use for my printmaking, and the second with the Bucks, Beds and Herts Print Society which I am a member of.
It has been helpful for me to have this focus for my printmaking practice – not least because I need to start using this element of my work as my commercial practice. If I can have a level of success selling my prints then this will help me fund my other artistic work.
The biggest lesson has been realizing the value of being in the right exhibition – and how detrimental it can be to get it wrong! The first exhibition was in a gallery on a busy high street with a good reputation for exhibiting a variety of local artist’s work– I had lots of positive feedback from this exhibition, sold six mounted prints and one large framed one, and overall felt it had been a great success. However, I then had almost the opposite experience with exhibiting with the BBH Print Society.
I hadn’t really considered whether my work would ‘fit’ in with the other artist’s work in this exhibition, and that turned out to be an error. As soon as I saw the exhibition I was aware that it was the wrong place for my work (despite the wonderful setting in the Bucks County Museum), and I had the rather painful experience of seeing visitors glazing over and ignoring my work completely.
The museum is also not in an easy place to get to so the number of visitors were considerably fewer than I had expected and overall, not a place that suited contemporary/modern printmaking. I had entered the exhibition because I had thought it was a good idea to get more experience entering work to formal exhibitions, getting my work seen and also being able to add another exhibition to my CV list. However, on reflection I have to acknowledge that I need to exercise more discernment with my choices for exhibiting – yes, I need to show my work in some form, however, showing it in the wrong environment had a negative impact on my self-worth and my confidence and really wasn’t worth it in the end.
The type of work entered at the Bodenpress exhibition:-
My work in the BBH Print Exhibtion: