Thursday, December 13, 2012

Opening in Neumünster, reactions

In a personal mail regarding my post about the opening in Neumünster, Claire Benn pointed out to me that she was merely asked to open Nancy’s exhibit Monoprinting, and that is what she did. She was not asked to talk about Color Improvisations.
Claire then clarified for my benefit that Nancy only considered 25 of her 100+ attempts worthy of putting forward to stitch and ultimately showing them, and was not displaying each and any of the first attempts at a new technique as accomplished pieces of art.
She also criticized my choice of language in saying “I was not terribly impressed” as too subjective, I should rather have said “I did not like them” and told the readers why, thus being more objective in my criticism.
Well, I wasn’t trying to be objective, that's not what I intend to do with this blog, I was stating a very subjective point of view. 
But I would like to go into just a bit more detail about what I was trying to say:

  • I love Nancy Crow, I admire her work.
  • I think her personal insistence on bringing art quilts to attention can not be overvalued, and it is due to her doing to a large extent that we all can do what we are doing today, because she has given artquilts an importance.
  • I have taken several classes with her, I have learned immensely from her, and I am deeply grateful for how she has kept pushing me in my development as a quilter. (In which I still consider myself a learning person.) She is a tough teacher, and I would not want her differently, even if some of the things she says about one’s work might hurt at that point. Most of the times she’s right.
  • I also feel deeply honoured to be part of the exhibition Color Improvisations.
  • I wrote the announcement article for the German Guild’s journal on this exhibition, and I was very curious and excited about seeing this new work by her. So let me here re-state the choice of language that Claire criticized me for when I mentioned ‘not being terribly impressed’: I was not as impressed as I would have wanted, or expected to be. I didn’t not like them, and therefore I did not want to say that. But I personally could not connect to these compositions. Knowing the high standards Nancy uses in her classes, I was expecting to be more overwhelmed.

But I did say that I am looking forward to numbers 100 and up, because I think Nancy will have a lot to say in mono-printing.

As Gail and Kit have put it in their comments to my other post: this new direction of Nancy’s is interesting, but/and it takes getting used to. And perhaps – hopefully, soon! – there will be a piece in this series of which I will be able to say: Wow, personally and subjectively speaking, I am terribly impressed and completely overwhelmed. 


  1. "I don't like them" is just as subjective as "I'm not terribly impressed." But what else would we expect in a review but subjective judgment?

    I am disturbed that anybody would give you a hard time over expressing your opinions about a public show. We're supposed to be inhabiting the art world, not a ladies' luncheon club in which nobody must ever say anything Not Nice.

    Keep up the good work.

  2. I love doing monoprints myself and can easily see how Nancy has produced so many.I can also see why she calls them self portraits. The reason I love making them is that they retain the memory of the process of making them - the mark making and brush strokes. I've incorporated bits of monoprinted fabrics in larger pieces but not used them on their own and as the marks are so personal I'm not sure how they would be received - it would always mean more to me than others. Something as individual as a monoprint would be difficult to judge objectively.

  3. Thanks, Mags and Kathy, for both your comments. Interesting remarks by Mags about the self-evaluation of mono-prints! -
    What is objectivity anyway, is there such a thing as objective criticism that goes beyond a mere listing of "there were so and so many quilts in red and so and so many in black and white"?