SOMEWHERE, A JOURNAL, is the title of my solo art exhibit at the Malone Art Gallery on the Malone University campus in Canton Ohio. This is an exhibit of 31 watercolor paintings of places I’ve been and experiences I had while there. I am all about places where life unfolds. So, that is the reason I chose the title, SOMEWHERE, because the pieces in the show are all about places that are meaningful to me in my life journey.
Earlier during the summer of 2018, at the first invitation, I was not certain that I could mount such a show. The Gallery is made up of over 125 linear feet of wall space, a very large gallery and the original timeline was short. It wasn’t until the spring of 2019 that I really got serious about such a show and accepted the invitation that had a much longer lead-time. I mapped the gallery and developed a database of artwork arranged by size and category. Most of my work is framed at 36 inches. So, with spacing, I figured that I could fit 30 or so pieces. My body of work breaks down into four or five categories, NYC, one of my all-time favorite subject locations, Cities around the world that I visited, Bicycles, because I love riding and painting bicycles, Aquatics because I like boats too, and abstracts, yes that too. I finally dropped the abstract category to make a more consistent offering.
Then the real work began. How many frames, how many mats, how much time? I gave myself a deadline based on the gallery schedule. It became an engineering project where I was the project manager, procurement officer and the labor force. The good news for me was that I have standardized my images to be compatible throughout, same size frame and mat combination. I was able to swap out mats and frames and reuse them with new work where the older pieces did not make the cut. Nevertheless, I bought new frames and new glass and cut new mats for many of the pieces.
I knew that I would not be available in the Gallery except by appointment and at the artist reception at the end of the exhibit. So, I created a program directory that discusses the place, (somewhere) and the thought that went into choosing the subject in the first place and how I went about making the final painting. It is like a museum guide where patrons can listen to recorded programming about items in the exhibit or collection. In this case, I wrote a back-story for each piece. The idea is not only to show the artwork but to share with the viewers what the artwork is all about. Just one thing, reading is required. There is no audio recording to listen to.
Delivery day arrived on October 22 at 2:00 PM. I arranged in advance for a cargo van to deliver the artwork from my home studio to the Johnson Center, the former First Friends Church on Cleveland Avenue. The round trip from my studio to the Gallery is just two miles. But, my car cannot hold that many paintings for transport and I didn’t want to make two or three trips. The cargo van worked well. But I was sweating out the weather because there is an uncovered, open distance from the parking lot at the Johnson Center to the building entrance. Good fortune shone on the day even though earlier weather reports had rain probability at 100%. There was sun and clear skies. Delivery was made and the installation magic was left in the hands of the Gallery curator. I felt a sense of relief, project, first phase, complete.
I was thrilled to see the final installation on opening day, October 28. I had envisioned the layout many times before but was thrilled with the way it looks in real life. The exhibit runs through December 7, 2019. Hours of operation are 11:00 to 4:00 pm, Monday through Friday or by appointment. A grand artist reception is planned for Friday, December 6 at 6:00 pm. The reception was planned to coincide with First Friday and the Malone University Christmas concert. Learn more Malone Gallery.