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November 10, 2007

aocc 2007: the 4x4 exhibit

by gl. at 11:24 pm

sven wrote about the portable art gallery he made for the 4x4 exhibit i was curating for the all oregon calligraphers conference this year. here's what it became!



two major goals i had for this exhibit were:

  1. find a non-destructive way to attach the art to the board: last time some of them were stapled, which made me wince. so i was planning to use photocorners, but sven had an even better idea: photocorners on squares of card stock, so that i could move them around more easily, especially when i put them in blocks of 4.

  2. include a statement: last time the display didn't have a sign or any context/mission about the exhibit, and i definitely felt its absence.

[4x4 exhibit: a call for unintimidating art]

The full text of the statement (or view the PDF layout):

As calligraphers, we toil over grand works. In pursuit of perfection, our labour is often pleasurable: delicately handling calf skin, breathing gently on gold leaf, sometimes even grinding our own pigments to achieve something truly magnificent and fine.

Frankly, it’s a little overwhelming. Even the most spontaneous works happen after immense preparation. There’s no “undo” for calligraphers: the pressure to get it “right” leaves less room for error and risk, essential components for making progress and exploring our own styles. And our time is so precious we hate to waste it on creative experiments.

But limitations often inspire creativity, and working in a small 4"x4" square is a prime example. We all have some small scraps of paper to use up, some leftover inks from previous projects, or some technique we’ve always wanted to try. With this exhibit, we’re encouraging play, risk and reward. The format is meant to be unintimidating and approachable — both for artists to create and viewers to appreciate. At heart, art is meant to be fun!

With special thanks to Sven Bonnichsen for making the display panel, Susan Cole for coordinating the previous exhibit, and everyone who makes AOCC happen!

i don't know if anyone read it, but i was glad to have it there. :)

besides creating this elegant place for art, sven also came w/ me to aocc to help set it up. we were up so early, we saw venus blaze in in the heart of leo. i was heartbroken to discover this fabulous display doesn't fit in trixie, so we had tro use the svan instead (thank god it fit in there!). sven's help turned out to be not just a kindness, but a huge blessing: we had 33 small pieces, many of which i got the day of the exhibit. which was a shame in part because the exhibit seemed to be a pretty popular destination, & i needed to keep popping in to add another piece of art or rearrange the art in front of them. depending on the configuration, this exhibit could have held over 100 pieces.

[look at all the pretty pieces]

the shelves came in extremely handy for items too thick to use photocorners, but someone brought in a framed piece and it fit perfectly when we removed a shelf. it's lovely to have that flexibility. it might make sense to make another row of shelves, but it was immensely gratifying for them to work out so well.

one of my favorite pieces from the exhibit wasn't on the display, but lying in front of it: this "gravel alphabet" by marilyn new has gorgeous letters sandblasted onto tiny pieces of gravel she gathered at the beach.


the whole alphabet would fit in half the size of your palm, but she has an even tinier set which was also on display. amazing craftsmanship and a very unique piece. so imagine my dismay when i came back to the exhibit after the afternoon classes to find the gravel alphabet missing! when marilyn came to pick up her other pieces, i apologized profusely -- and fortunately, it turned out she had sold them. what a huge relief! everyone wins! well, except for me: i really wanted those stones for myself! :D

so overall, i was quite pleased with this year's exhibit; it met the major goals i wanted to accomplish this year. too bad aocc will travel to salem next year! sven built the exhibit with love and it belongs to us, not The Society. (but having said that, if you need to borrow/rent a portable art gallery, the terms are very reasonable. ;)

posted by gl. | November 10, 2007 11:24 PM | categories: calligraphy