Thursday, October 16, 2008

Fryeburg Fiber Center 2008 Exhibition Review

As I prepare to return to Bermuda for the winter, I find myself with a bit of time to create a post with a Fiber Center Fair report! Yeah! This can only mean that I have caught up for a moment.
No worries though, it will not last :-)

Fall of 2008 will go down in history as a challenging time for many people on many levels! Beginning with the state of our country's economy and the questionable weather in the first few days of the fair we began on shaky ground though ended with a good year for most. Good news, all things considered.....

I will focus this post on The Gallery portion of the Fiber center. Watch for subsequent posts regarding my own fair experience soon!

Julie Yarbrough was our Guest Artist for this year and Julie delivered an incredibly diverse body of work that explored a complete spectrum of emotions ranging from her usual whimsy to a more traditional side that I had never seen in the work that she has exhibited at Fryeburg before. Included were needle felted busts and wall hangings of interesting characters with a depth that brought their images to life as her pieces always do but she went beyond with needle felted fish inspired from her teaching Fiber Arts last year at the Bermuda Fiber Festival.

What I was most struck by were her acrylic paintings and the range of expression captured within them. This of course was a Fiber show and keeping true to the form, Julie incorporated fabrics and fibers into her paintings. Subjects were diverse here as well. Though it was evident that the same artist created all pieces, the pieces moved through expressions ranging from a beautiful country roadside scene to abstracts that provoked thought and deeper meaning than what was evident on the surface.

Hanging Julie's work this year prompted some evolution of the Fiber Center's Gallery Exhibit. The quality and breadth of her work along with the availability of works by Susan Mills, Linda Whiting, Janet Goodwin and my own Hairlock Paintings TM, allowed us to raise the bar and required that we re-think our usual display materials. What we had been using in between the good stuff repeatedly for a few years as visual depictions of what the Fiber Center represents and as fillers for the white spaces were no longer acceptable for hanging alongside a professional body of work but more importantly, they were unnecessary. They served their purposes as adequate fillers in the past but we have now managed to foster and see development of the artists who participate in this event to a point of having a selection of Professional Artwork to hang each year. As a result, and given the materials and artwork that we had at hand for this immediate progression, the entire upper Gallery space at the Fiber Center was filled with gallery quality artwork!

We were rewarded with acceptance from our audience as having noticeably improved our appearance. Of course with that always comes the challenge for next year; Who will our 2009 Guest Artist be, and who will provide work to fill the space? It was suggested by Susan Mills, and briefly discussed as to how to proceed, and though no definite policies have been set in place, we are contemplating a rotation allowing the guest artist to exhibit the following year on the rear upper Gallery wall as spontaneously occurred this year with my own work. As the Fiber Artists who have been participating in this most incredible Fiber Event for so many years continue to grow and build their talents, it is my hope that it will reach a point that instead of having a difficult time accumulating quality work to show, that we have reached a point of having to jury, pick and choose from lots of work to put together future shows!

Each year I am amazed at how far we travel together on this journey and though the road sometimes takes it's toll, I remind myself to take a breath and look to the higher good. I believe we are on that path and I ask you to journey with us at the Fiber Center towards the future....

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