Recently I had a few spare minutes one evening to wander through a gallery that I’d never been in before. The person at the door, seeing that I was their sole guest and was dressed nicely, explained to me how the gallery had made their decisions about what to hang. And that brought me to this…
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the idea of curating our own images. Like museums looking at artwork, many of us pick through the various pieces of ourselves and determine which things get to be on display and which things get relegated to a back room. I struggled with this for many years and at times in my life expertise in curating my image to the world was based on the need for pure survival.
Look…that piece there is the one that hung proudly in the foyer of me and displayed that I was a good student, a fine Christian, not in any way disagreeable, and an obedient daughter. I call it “Flying Under the Radar”
That piece over there is me fighting off the demons of church abuse, sexual assault, & familial abandonment. The image is a masterpiece of strength and independence but please don’t rub up against it, it is drawn entirely with chalk and could disappear at any minute.
This one actually left a rectangular imprint on the wall when I finally took it down. It is self-righteous indignation with splashes of intellectual superiority and careful emotional distance, painted over a base entirely in the color of fear.
These days I don’t do much curating of the artwork I present to the world.
My fear comes through at times and surprises even me…but it is there for the world to see, accuse, and try to convince me to put back in the storeroom. My confidence in my abilities is painted as a mural that sweeps across time and distance and holds me up when others try to take the easel away. My love, which often displays itself as grace and acceptance, is rendered in lush textiles that captivate more than just the sense of sight and instead engages taste, sound, ad touch. My cutting words and meanness are done in stark black and white photographic media…the kind that renders the viewer helpless and afraid and the muse giddy with the potential damage. And my curiosity is drawn freehand to capture light and movement with changes almost daily as it is never quite done…thank God!
So no…I don’t curate. I don’t pretend that I’m not a museum of contradictions, emotions, beauties, and hangups. I hang the art. I bless the subject. I pray to the artist. I hope for real life connection with every person who walks in and among the artwork. I deal with the artwork that drives others out of the gallery.
What you see is what you get. And what you get is some of my best work…and some of my worst.
I charge admission to fakes, bullies, and those who don’t own their own bullshit.
But admission is always free to those who also show up with their real, true, uncurated selves.