Thursday, October 21, 2010

You be the judge

Scenario A:  You’re on the jury for Quilt National and here come three images from the same entrant up on the screen.  How do you vote?  Why?

entry 1
entry 2

entry 3
Scenario B:  You're a curator of a gallery and the same three images come up for consideration for a solo show of "fabric works."  Do you give her the show?

I'm going to write more about this tomorrow but I want you to think about this without any context, just as the QN jurors see the images we send in.  Leave a comment with your vote.


  1. I just sent you an email about the work. These pieces would not be accepted because these pieces are about concept more than anything and without knowledge of what that concept is, it would be difficult to respond. AND these pieces are in no way the best work the artist ever did. They would be rejected and in my opinion the rejection would be justified.

  2. Hi Kathy,
    I am not a judge and think you are brave to ask, but I also think you wouldn't ask if you didn't want to know. and that you are experienced enough to dismiss comments that miss the point altogether.

    So, having said that...

    The 3rd one is the one that stays in my mind. The visual and textual contrast work well together to make the viewer stop to think about it.

    the other 2 are lacking in that type of visual interest...the stopping to look at further bit.
    no.1 - too bland and seems to want to be inverted because the top part is more weighty visually,
    no. 2 - for me there is too much unrelated contrast or at least the proportions of print are too similar to create interest. the resulting horizontal lines end up being the focus which makes you forget to think about what is happening with the rest of the shapes.

    for the 3 together - they seem to be unrelated. I would say they seem to say the artist is looking for the next place to go and hasn't found it yet.

    I haven't been coached in judging, but that is what comes across to me.
    oh, and I wish I could say it face to face rather than in a blog comment or email to make sure I was communicating properly.
    Sandy in the UK

    on the other hand, I haven't necessarily been blown away with some of the work I see online that has been selected in the past, so what do I know! I know people consider it prestigious, but QN rather turns me off. :{ oops...

  3. Okay here goes. i find all three pieces uninteresting in terms of design and color. I think the first one is the most interesting [if I had to choose] in design, but the color choice is so insipid. This piece for me has the most possibilities. Would these pieces be rejected or allowed into a solo show. Yes. Usually when I respond to a piece it's on a visceral level. These do not cause that. My eye tends to move over them quickly. They do not draw me in, or do they invite me to linger.

  4. Correction: No to Qn and NO to a solo show. Mea culpa

  5. I like the composition in the first, but I find the colors uninspiring.

    The second doesn't work for me on any level.

    My first impression of the third was that it was the back of a quilt. But I like how it also reads as

    As a judge, I'd reject all three. Just not enough going on- more like a work in progress.

  6. I am not really attracted to any of them as quilts. It is hard to see any evidence of quilting on the pieces. Compositionally I am attracted to the third piece because of the contrast of textures and the simplicity of the colors and composition. As a curator of a fiber show they show very little creativity and little technical ability. I would not offer a show to this work or include them in Quilt National. Kathy, I hope these aren't yours.

  7. I like the third one - the contrast in visual texture works for me. The first I think needs more tension between the two diagonal halves - it doesn't seem to have any "buzz" to it. And the second has too many things pulling in different directions.

    Looking forward to seeing where this will lead!

  8. If the jurors recognized the style of the works and thereby identified their maker, then I think that they would accept them, as would a curator. It is possible that they would set a trend towards simplicity and less stitching.

  9. I'd vote no to both as none of these make me want to look at them again. Nor do they tell a compelling story.

    In terms of QN they also appear to not follow the requirement that they must be quilted but since we don't get to see closeups can't say for sure.

  10. Tom, Lisa and others: you're right that there's no quilting. In that respect they wouldn't get into Quilt National. I guess I'm hoping you'll overlook that fact and evaluate everything else about the pieces, but in the context of QN. For Scenario B, of course, we don't care if it's quilted or not.

  11. Even without the quilting, there is nothing visually appealing about these pieces to me. The top one is my favorite of the 3 if I had to pick.

    I'm also drawn to large work and these appear to be small. But it's again hard to say, which is where the details help to give that sense of scale.

    I think the third one could be more interesting if they were huge but I suspect it isn't. Image that thing 12 feet high - now that would be pretty cool and a textile piece that captured my attention.

  12. Lisa asked about the size.

    entry 1 -- 18 x 14 inches
    entry 2 -- 24 x 30 inches
    entry 3 -- 12 x 9 inches

  13. Maybe I don't know enough, but I wouldn't vote any of them in. Since they are not quilted, I think even I could whip all three of them up in a few hours without much thought.

  14. NO and NO. I am not inspired by any of them. If saw them on a wall I would keep walking. There is nothing to recommend them. They are unfinished and I agree with Terry.

  15. these LOOK like Ulla Von Brandenburg - she crops out parts of classic quilt designs. on their own, there appears to be little merit in these particular works, but as a whole they make for an extremely confronting exhibition - and don't curators like confronting? just because the maker is identifiable, doesn't mean they should be accepted. if they were accepted, people will be talking about THAT QN forever forward - and you can imagine all the "I could have done that" comments - "well, why didn't you then?" would be my response... if these are Ulla's works, her original concept was superior in the execution. do you agree?

  16. if these aren't Ulla's works, then someone has shamelessly copied her idea, small scale

  17. I would vote no without even looking too closely at the works individually because they do not look like they are from one body of work. They are not consistent enough to be presented together to a juror. Consistency has been drummed into me as the most important aspect of presentation and I do agree that it's the only way for a juror to get a real idea of an applicant's work.

  18. I was not familiar with Ulla von Brandenburg -- thanks for posting the link. But she's not the one who made these pieces.

  19. To me these look like they could be part of the textile work done by Louise Bourgeois which is the subject of an upcoming show in London. They are very interesting to me if they are because I am familiar with her work in other media but did not know she did textiles like this until I saw publicity for the show.

    Whoever they are by they are perfectly valid as samples/playing with ideas, but obviously not in the form we see them a finished piece. This may be partly due to extreme cropping of the photos.

    Please let us in on what you are getting at.

  20. Wouldn't you put your best work forwards for selection?If you'd used other examples from where these images came from I think there would have been different answers as these are probably the least interesting.
    The idea behind them is that they're fabric drawings so not really fair to treat them as full works.
    The test pieces and sketches I do as part of making larger artworks are very useful to me but I wouldn't want them exhibited, particularly out of context
    As the pieces you show I think were selected for exhibition by a curator rather than the artist themselves, might there be an element of work being put forward that you wouldn't necessarily have chosen yourself or the danger once prestigous artists are dead that they obviously don't have control about the work released or how it is used.

  21. For the most part, I agree with what's already been said. I'm not a big fan of the colors of entry #1, but to my eye, it's the best of the three. On my screen there's a bit of a shadow line on the diagonal which gives the piece a look of dimensionality. I also find it interesting to have the subtle wavy lined fabric on the large diagonal, whereas all the other fabrics are solids.

    I don't care for the second entry.

    There's simplicity in the third entry and simple's sometimes very hard to present effectively. I don't think this is the best example of this; however, it's interesting that the graphic nature of this entry is evocative of a number of things to different people. To my eye, it looks like snow falling on water. If the objective is to create discussion and/or to evoke a feeling, then this piece would have to be considered successful in that regards. However, I don't think it's QN worthy since it doesn't present, in my opinion, a mastery of any technique save fabric selection.

  22. The voting is closed and I reveal the story in my blog post this morning. I hope you'll read it and tell me what you think now!

    UK Quilter is correct -- the artist is Louise Bourgeois.

    Thanks to everybody for reading and playing along with what you had to know was a trick question.

  23. I find the first two quite unappealing and totally uninspiring. Even if they were miniatures, the patchwork pieces are just too large and visually jarring. If I had to choose a piece it would be the third one as it makes a bold statement. However, I would certainly not give this maker her own show!

  24. Cathy Park in Hampshire, UKOctober 22, 2010 at 1:20 PM

    I'm nowhere near experienced enough quilting-wise to judge, but my gut reaction would be;
    entry 1 No way. Bland, unbalanced, leaves me wondering what it is 'going to be' rather than a finished item.
    entry 2 The balance is all wrong (colour as well as composition) and the bottom section looks like it was added on in order to conform to a size requirement.
    entry 3 A certain appeal, as I think this could work both close-to and at a distance, which for me is a big criterion for a gallery/quilt show.