Thursday, 20 June 2013

Less is more

The first time I heard this, I was a very young, very naive and ill-informed (about to be an architecture) student. At the time I was unaware of the context and having had no art education to speak of it meant little. As the course progressed I came to appreciate it more and more. The idea of minimalism definitely appealed, but I discovered early on it is not that easy.  When a design or project is finalised (never completed) it's quite easy to look back and take out the elements that add nothing. But the temptation always remains - to add something or adjust something. Experience suggests that it rarely benefits the outcome.

Forty years on, the concept holds good in the gallery world, but is still difficult to achieve. Statistically one-man or one-woman shows do best with fewer pictures than most artists want to show.  It's not clear whether this is a recent phenomenon but based purely on personal experience, a growing percentage of sales derived from featured exhibitions, actually occur outside the publicised time frame - i.e after the event.

The key feature appears to be that almost regardless of the style or content, customers find it difficult to differentiate when confronted by more than half a dozen works by the same artist. And then there is the basic satisfaction we all derive from finding rather than selecting.

Our current exhibition is yet another variation on this theme. Much appreciated, lots of visitors and looking good both in reality and on the internet.

However, it is when they are separated and viewed individually they come into their own.

This is difficult for any artist who clearly like their exhibitions to be viewed as body of work but if they can overcome this,  they eventually sell more.  Which, of course, is what they and us want!

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