I do like a dictionary definition. It is becoming increasingly important to ensure people understand what my actual role is at the gallery. I have had people who think that if they supply me with their work that that makes them the curator. Sorry folks you are still the artist, that's as it should be. That is what you pay me for after all.
I hang exhibitions with two words in my mind 'cohesion and flow'. That is what I am thinking about I am not thinking 'put the two green ones together'. I am also not thinking about the narrative behind the work particularly. I am consciously thinking about hanging a visually cohesive show that works. It has taken me twenty years of hanging exhibitions to get where I am now and I hope that I will continue to improve as time goes on.
When I write twenty years a part of me feels old and sad.
If I was allowed to (I am sort of allowed) I would be even more experimental with hanging but artists generally prefer a more traditional approach.
When I hire the gallery I take many factors into consideration. It isn't just about making sure it is fully booked. It also about making sure the right thing comes at the right time of year.
This is more important than people realise.
Swanage is a hive of activity during the summer which is fantastic. Is it the right time to put on a really conceptual abstract exhibition? Nope!
It took me two years to learn that lesson. Keep it light for the summer. Spring, autumn and winter are the reserve of the more challenging art.
I am also now reducing the amount of solo exhibitions that I have as they don't pull in the people. I have taken several steps to address this and so far (touch wood) it is working. I now have a variety of work on show that has a wider appeal.
Anything to keep my head above water.
I am sure that the Tate never has to deliberate that much about times of year. They have a much deeper pocket than me. We won't even talk about the names that they can attract.
I think both of the definitions fit what I do at the gallery. I'd happily be an art museum if I could afford to be one. Sadly, I cannot.
Ok so the second definition 'gallerist' is starting be used more frequently now. I think it has come over from the States. This blog has put a squiggly red line underneath the word which means it is not in the built in dictionary.
I think this is also my job title too.
I can also chuck the word artist into the mix. But the truth is I am happiest with artist/curator. It seems honest and the most straightforward. One does inform the other in both directions.
All I need now is for the Sunday Papers to do a little article about the arty coastal town that is Swanage and include some info about the gallery and I might finally get on the national map.