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General News · 6th September 2023
Kristen Scholfield-Sweet
Looking at Art in a group show

It is usual to look at one artist’s work hanging in a gallery. It may be more complicated to look at
20 artists displaying more than 30 pieces on the walls in almost every media used to create art.
Here are some ways I enjoy looking at art in a group show.

Stand in the entryway and look to the far walls. Notice the visual rhythms created along each
view. See the relationships of colour and styles of framing, of size of pieces and spacing. How
do these sightlines become invitations? Which line will you explore first?

Before moving into the gallery, look at the art both immediately in front and on either side of you.
These pieces invite a more intimate view because of their placement. Do they also have a
relationship besides location? Is one of their similarities that they are each unique, unlike any of the other work presented? Are there other pieces that have this quality of effective surprise?

Art that is hanging in close proximity usually has some shared visual qualities, like colour,
texture, shape, scale. You can visit in many neighborhoods in a group show. Some pieces
share a particular colour, other groupings have a felt physical orientation, some have a
similar subject. Is some art enhanced, or diminished, by hanging in the ‘hood?

THE 12” 12’ TEST
Up close, an art work should satisfy our sense impressions and show command of its materials.
At a greater distance, the piece as a whole needs to create a composition that conveys intention
and meaning. As you move close in, and then far away, does a work hold your curiosity for moving to the other extreme?

The art world does not have a single message or material. There are many languages for art.
There is a rich cross-pollination of ideas and experiences. As you look a group show, what
works test your opinions about what art is and how it is valued?

Much appreciation to the 20 artists in the 26th Annual Members Show: Kathleen Pemberton, Ann Mortifee,
Ayami Stryck, Brigid Weiler, Brooke Anderson, Charles Steinberg, Donna Naven, Filipe Figueira,
Gerri Davis, Holger (Akasa) Schramm, Jane Newman, Karen McDiarmid, Kathleen Horne,
Kristen Scholfield-Sweet, Leona Jensen, Meinsje Vlaming, Oriane Lee Johnston, Randy Louie, Torkin Wakefield, Lisa Gibbons, Monica Beale.

Looking at Art will transform into Talking about Art at an in-person dialog with artists and art
lovers at the Old Schoolhouse Gallery on Friday, September 9 at 7 pm.

Join me on a walking tour of the Members Show. What surprises you in your work? How do you create titles? Does your art express your views about current issues? Do you wrestle with demons of doubt as an artist?
effective surprise
effective surprise
in the hood
in the hood
12 inches to 12 feet
12 inches to 12 feet