Sunday, March 21, 2010

A Review by an Art Critique

Here is what I have learned about having your work reviewed by an Art Critique.

It is best if you do not know that an Art Critique has seen your show prior to the review being published.

About ten days ago I was painting in my studio at Elliott Fouts Gallery when Cynthia, poked her head in the door and whispered “Victoria Dalkey is here.”  For those of you who do not subscribe to the Sacramento Bee, Victoria Dalkey is the Art Critique for that newspaper.  I knew she must be there to see the new show GO FIGURE!   I have 3 paintings in that show.  Everyday since then I have scanned the art section of the Sacramento Bee with apprehension looking to see if she wrote about the show.  Today she did.  AHH no more suspense!

Back in 2001, I was quite nervous about my first solo show at the JGlenn Gallery in Davis.  I assume that is why the gallery owner did not tell me the show had been seen by the Davis Enterprise Art Critique, Paul Dorn.  When I arrived for the opening he handed me a copy of the Davis Enterprise, April 4, edition and pointed to the headline “Sensual Fragrant Art”.  Thank goodness Mr.. Dorn’s well written review was very positive!  I wonder if Jeff would have given me the paper if it had been a negative review…

Just because an Art Critique visits a show does not mean that she will choose to write a review about that particular show.

An Art Critique may visit several shows, but she only has a limited amount of column space so she must choose which shows to write about.   So when I read a review she wrote about another show last week I figured she was not going to write about the GO FIGURE! show at Elliott Fouts Gallery.  But I continued to check the Art Section just in case.

An Art Critique’s job is to be “critical”, not to be “nice”.  So just because the Critique chooses to write about the show does not mean that everything written will be positive.

As a subscriber to the Sacramento Bee I  have been reading Victoria Dalkey’s reviews for years, and I know she does not sugar coat, she tells it like she sees it.   What I like most about her reviews is that I almost always learn something I did know know.   She often describes an artist’s work in an historical context, and I get a mini-art history lesson.  Or she will see something entirely different in a piece than I saw in that same piece when I viewed it.   Sometimes her writing provokes me to go to a show just to see if I agree with her take on it.

Art Critiques have their favorite styles.  If you don’t paint in that style, you have to hope that the Critique will be fair in their comments about the quality of your work even if they do not appreciate your particular style.  In my humble opinion, a good Art Critique does that.

From my reading of Victoria Dalkey’s reviews I think my three small figure paintings in the GO FIGURE! show are probably not of a style that tops her list of “faves”.   So it was a great relief to read in the very last line of her review  in today’s Sacramento Bee

“…I liked Peggy Molloy’s compelling photoreal image of women warriors, Derek Gore’s explosive collage image of a Carmen Miranda-type showgirl, and Sandy Delehanty’s charming genre scene of gondoliers in Venice.”   Victoria Dalkey, 
“Natsoulas, Fouts Shows Feature the Human Figure” Sacramento Bee April 21, 2010.

Here is the painting she refers to:
Gondalier Dudes
Gondolier Dudes    watercolor

1 comment:

jeannie said...

Nice to have such a positive statement from Victoria Dalkey's column, Sandi. Congrats. I enjoyed your blog conversation about critiques and art reviews... very helpful and encouraging. Thanks!