In 1863, French Emperor and arts patron Napoleon III established the Salon des Refusés as a venue for the works of a group of artists who had loudly protested the repeated rejection of their works by the Salon des Paris, then the accepted authority on the Beaux-Arts. Though largely ridiculed in their own time, the Refusés— Édouard Manet, Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro, and James McNeill Whistler, to name but a few—have since grown to eclipse the members of the Salon itself. It can be argued that the entire pantheon of modern art began with the Refusés.
Anyone who makes art has felt the sting of rejection. This is particularly true today of digital imaging, the poor country cousin of fine art photography. Too figurative to be accepted as photographs but to photographic to be regarded as painting, digital images produce a conundrum for jurors. Personally, I think digital imaging has a closer kinship with printmaking than either photography or painting. The artist produces an intermediate tool (a digital file, analogous to an etcher’s plate or silkscreen stencils) from which multiple prints can be made using a device for that purpose (a giclee printer, analogous to a printing press or silkscreen.)
Until the fine arts come to grips with what digital imaging is, there will be a disproportionate number of rejections. I have therefor created my own little Salon des Refusés. A jury has rejected each of these images. I understand that the job of a juror is hard. Each juror is working to assemble a single coherent show, and each brings his own aesthetic sensibility to the task; some good art will inevitably not be accepted. Still, for the artist, rejection smarts. While I realize that many of these images miss the mark a little, I think there is much here that can be admired.
This six-image digital montage had a strong, coherent narrative that most people can follow and with which they can identify. It did not impress the jurors of the Cape Cod Art Association's exhibition entitled Artists's Choice in 2016, however.
Neither of these shadows of faith and depravity impressed the jurors at Artsbridge for their annual show at the Prallsville Mill in Stockton, NJ.
This whimsical faux vanGogh failed to impress the New Hope Art League for their annual Buck's County. PA, show. Perhaps if I had titled it Vincent Crossing the Delaware...?
This dynamic portrait failed to impress the jurors at the Water Street Studio in Batavia, Illinois for their show, Contemporary Portraits. Too much Contemporary and not enough Portrait?
UPDATE: This image, with some graphic text overlaid to turn it into a faux perfume ad from a glossy magazine, was accepted by the Philadelphia Sketch Club for their Phillustration 7 show.
This image was created for a juried exhibition called Red Covered Bridge and Barn at the Rich Timmons Gallery in Doylestown PA. In the end it proved too rich for me; it did not make the cut.
This image of roiled water and stormy skies on Cape Cod did not impress the juror for the Earth Wind & Fire show at the South Shore Art Center in Cohasset.
This colorful paean to life and rebirth was not sufficiently seasoned for the jurors for the Breath of Spring 2015 exhibition this year at the Cape Cod Art Association.
UPDATE: This piece was accepted by the juror for the Philadelphia Sketch Club's 2016 Art of the Flower show. Perseverance, and faith in my art, paid off.
THE TIDE IS OUT
The Tide is Out is the first image to hang simultaneously in the Hall of Honor and the Salon de Refusès. After winning 2nd prize in the Altered Digital Photography category at the Duxbury Art Association's Midsummer Show, it did not win a second look from the juror at the first 2015 Members' Juried Show at the Provincetown Art Association & Museum, which has no slot for digital art..
De gustibus non est disputandum --Concerning taste, there is no quarreling.
This panoramic look at Provincetown's Macmillan Pier, taken from the beach on Commercial Street, is comprised of four photographs stitched together, rendered as a line drawing, and manually colored. The sky was painted in by hand.
It was submitted to the Provincetown Art Association's Members' Juried Show on the theme of PAAM's 100 years as a force in this very artistic community. I thought this was nicely representitive of Provincetown's heritage as a fishing village, and as an art colony immersed in, among other things, a maritime tradition. The juror for PAAM's Members' Juried Exhibition did not agree. The juror for the Duxbury Art Assocoation also rejected this image before ir could appear in their Winter Juried Art Show, held at the Art Complex Museum on Alden Street.
UPDATE: This image was resubmitted to DAA for their Midsummer Art Show, held at the Duxbury Bay Maritime School boatshed, where it took first place, and sold. My thanks to an insightful collector. Venue can make all the difference.
The show was titled Reflections, and invited both the optical and contemplative kinds. I thought this image evoked both, inviting reflection on what lies ahead (literally, a fish & chips lunch), what lies behind (literally, the empty parking lot and the riverine landscape beyond it), and the thin membrane that separates them (the plate glass with its inviting lettering). I also like the ambiguity about what is foreground and what is background.
The juror did not see it that way.
© 2013 - 2015 All text and images copyright William Sargent.
All rights reserved.
The ColdBrook Gallery
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