Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Southern Cross University Artists Books

I find the whole applying for selection into exhibitions a bit stressful. I don't like to jinx the whole thing by talking about it much and it can be particularly tricky when there are two of you in a family who are applying.

Last year, both Barry and I entered books into the SCU exhibition; and the big excitement was that Barry's book 'Censored' was acquired by the University for its collection.  This year the rules changed and you had to be selected to exhibit; and the news came through early this morning that whilst my book had been selected; Barry's hadn't.

So its hard to be excited and joyful when one of you misses out. His book is gorgeous and stunning and probably 'not quite a book' for some folk - in that he tends to build sculptural books using timber and metal.

Here is the award winning 'Censored' from last year.

And the sadly rejected 'Spirals' from this year which incorporates a poem by Poeticmuse on metal 'pages' in a spiral form.

I was surprised that my little 'book in a box' My journey is my way home was selected. There is to be a catalogue of the exhibition this year, and here is my page layout. My first attempt at taking a screen shot of a pdf and converting it to a jpeg, sounding like geek girly buy hey it seemed to work, except for the weird border thing - please excuse.

Even when I am selected for something such as this, I am very consciousof the random nature of these things. Who knows what they were looking for? Who was on the panel and how do they personally define the artists book? Do they prefer certain types of books or bindings? Did they want to see lots of blue books this year?  Does the idea of journeys resonate with them when spirals doesn't?

I am pleased for me, but sad for Barry, but also know that being selected or not for something like this doesn't actually mean your work is better or worse than anybody else's. It just is.


  1. It really is hard to know how and why the panel chooses one and not the other. Your books are both beautiful but so different, both I would have thought would be an asset to the exhibition. Your book is so delicate and, as you say, intimate, and Barry's is strong but spiritual. Both wonderful and inspiring works. Well done Fiona, and commiserations to Barry, but I know he'll just be delighted for you.

  2. yay fiona - it's obviously going to be a strong showing this year by BAO peeps (be that edition one folk or newbies like yourself) sara announced that the BAO team effort was selected - as was her personal piece - and although I haven't said anything anywhere else yet (yep you'll hear it here first) my orbis floris II was also chosen.

    I don't get too worried by whether my stuff is selected or rejected... I figure its as much a luck as anything else - so why sweat it or take it personally. indeed I happily let folk know when I'm making something specifically for a show - as I don't consider it a 'failure' if my stuff isn't selected - its just the subjective opinion of often a single person..... same thing goes for award success.... I don't consider it proof of 'genius' (pft!) just luck and subjective opinion..... so one shouldn't develop a big head about such 'success'....

    the thing that really matters is the work and how you feel about it.... if you are happy with what you are doing - all the rest is superfluous.

  3. Very hard to know that Barry's beautiful book wasn't chosen when yours was... but as you say, who knows why certain works are chosen? I was once told by selectors that my print was chosen because its frame was the right shape for the remaining piece of wall! Luckily you both have faith in your own work and Carol's right, I'm sure Barry's delighted for you.

  4. Fiona, congratulations!!!
    Both yours and Barry's works are beautiful and worthy of being exhibited, collected, admired. Having a work selected by a juror is NOT the only criterion for the particular work's value. Even when you create something in response to a specific "theme", still the way the jury translates and views this theme and your understanding very often differ...
    Enjoy your work's selection to this call and with equal joy and pride celebrate with Barry your abilities to create.
    Congratulations to both!!!

  5. Fiona....first, hearty congratulations on having your book selected. Don't John and I know this very scenario...one of you selected for a big show, the other one isn't. It doesn't have any reflection on the work, only on the juror or jurors own eye/taste and yet....even know that, it's still hard to take. I guess it's our human nature. I definitely see "artist's book" in Barry's work, but who knows....as you say....it just is. Or as we say in our house..."it is what it is"....both of you must keep making the beautiful work you do...we need you! cheers!

  6. Fiona, being half of a creative couple, it can be very hard to manage the graceful and gracious balance of being happy and proud for yourself and also sensitive to the disapppointments of your partner - not to mention being happy for them when it's YOU who gets let down! I think you both know how good you each are at what you do, and that the selection process can be random, whimsical, and downright inscrutible. Barry's piece is awesome! It won't languish long without its proper venue I'm sure. And your book is beautiful! You both should be proud.

  7. I agree, your books are amazing! Congrats to you BOTH for being so talented!

  8. oh, man, do i know this one! you make artists' books? why not editions. you make editions? they're not one-offs (read original, unique). sometimes you can't figure it out, except, i now know fiona, it's the year of blue books! or is it turquoise?

  9. All the pieces in this post got my attention. Great work and congratulations Fiona!

  10. Congratulations Fiona and commiserations to Barry. It's a strange and arbitrary old world!

  11. Thanks everybody for your kind and considered thoughts and congratulations. It's nice to know that other artistic couples share the dilemma of happiness and disappointment as we do; and to also know that others understand and have experienced the vagaries of selection processes such as this.

    Sara I particularly loved that they actually TOLD you that it was selected because it fitted the space - so much better to have just left it without comment!

    and Velma - let's make it the year of blue and turquoise books in editions or as one-offs!

    I think all the comments just remind me that the work is about you and it - it is making sure that it works for you, that you feel an affinity to it and that you are being true to you.

    As Patti would say, Amen to that!

  12. F et al - selections and exhibitions are just one of those things. The bottom line is we just do our stuff to as best a standard as we can and also in an enjoyable and fulfilling way. Sometimes it resonates with others and sometimes it doesn't. I am sure there is a place for Spirals at some point in time. And of course my approach to artists books is a bit different - not a lot of paper involved. Congrats to Fiona - it is a grand piece of work. B

  13. Congratulations Fiona! ...and my hat's off to both you and Barry for giving birth to your creative ideas.To have finished the work is a victory in itself. It is always an emotional risk to submit a piece of work for selection, but I think the process motivates us to do our best work. Your book and Spirals are exceptional works of art.

  14. Thank Jane and Barry - it is an achievement to complete work you are proud of, and then its off into the big wide world to others to make something of it, or not as the case may be!


I appreciate your thoughts and comments; thanks for taking the time.