Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Know Your Rights

Image use rights are a perennial topic of discussion among artists. Instagram’s faux pas a few months ago lost itself thousands of users and lost viewers the privilege of seeing some great (and not so great) work. It is important for an artist to take an interest in their image rights. Whether you are submitting your work to a publication, a gallery, or just putting it out on the web through tumblr, flickr, deviant art and the like, make sure to read and understand your rights. 99% of the time you won’t lose out on millions of dollars if someone uses your image, but wouldn’t you like to be prepared? Many galleries and photo sharing sites are not artist-friendly, and take ownership of all submitted images. In the interest of keeping artists informed, here is a breakdown of how The Kiernan Gallery addresses image rights:

1. Artists maintain ownership of their images.

2. By submitting to The Kiernan Gallery, artists grants the Gallery license to display any images selected for the show for the promotion of the show, or for the promotion of the Gallery generally.

3. The Kiernan Gallery does not retain any use rights to the unselected images after the conclusion of the show.

4. The Kiernan Gallery does not retain the image files submitted for the jurying process, nor does the juror keep such images.

5. If the artists choose to sell editions of their artwork through the Gallery, the Gallery will manage the transaction and remit the proceeds of the sale to the artist within a reasonable time period (usually by check at the conclusion of the show). The Gallery does not take a commission on submitted work, but maintains the right to negotiate 20% of the asking price in order to make a sale.

6. The Kiernan Gallery seeks to maximize the exposure and financial success of artists participating in the Gallery's shows, and may present other work by the artist to interested Gallery patrons.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Creatures Winners: Joshua Meier

Even as a young child, Director’s Choice winner Joshua Meier knew he would be an artist. “I was interested in the arts and knew that I would eventually end up in some creative field. Early on I dabbled in music, theatre, painting, and pretty much all of it.” After his second year at Roger State University, Meier attended Rocky Mountain School of Photography and was eventually inspired to put his collegiate studies on hold to pursue photography full time. He took every opportunity to learn and grow in his craft. “Probably the biggest shift in what I was doing at that time came when I had the opportunity to work with Raymond Meeks at his studio in rural Montana. Raymond probably has no idea how much my year with him changed my outlook on my art.”

Director's Choice image Neither Here Nor There

Meier’s winning image, Neither Here Nor There, is part of his larger series All Things Passing, which explores the theme of death through preserved specimens. “Death and the passing of life have always been recurring themes for artists and especially for the medium of photography, which is, in itself, a form of preservation. For me this is an important aspect, conceptually, for the work.” Choosing to work in wet plate collodion for its unique visual capabilities, Meier then scans the work and prints it in silver gelatin. “I’m sure the wet-plate purists are probably out there cursing my name, but I tend to love how the big, silver gelatin prints showcase the detail, clarity, and resolution that the collodion is capable of.” He was also concerned that the sense of intimacy would be lost in a smaller print as his enlarged images showcase fascinating details that otherwise might have been easily overlooked.

Bleached from All Things Passing

Lower Jaw from All Things Passing

Meier began working on The Parables over a decade ago as a way to challenge himself both creatively and technically. Each image is a constructed scene which requires careful planning. Before he takes out his camera, Meier must sketch each image, construct sets pieces or props, and the find just the right location. “The genesis for each image tends to come from a variety of places. Sometimes I work from a basic human condition like ‘struggle’ or ‘futility’. Sometimes the object I make comes first and the image builds itself slowly around that thing.” Meier strives to hit a balance of complexity and ambiguity in these images in order for the viewer to interpret them in a way that has personal meaning. “That’s the way a parable works, right? You tell a story so universally common that it meets the listener/viewer right where they are, right where it’s most needed.”

Failed Attempt 2 from The Parables

Deed and Desire from The Parables

In the end, Meier’s true inspiration is the creative process itself.

I believe the word ‘success’ speaks too much to the end result—a common qualifier we give an experience or a thing when it’s over. For me, success is felt in the midst of the creative process.  If I can remain engaged, excited, challenged, and fraught with uncertainty throughout my exploration, then the final product will take care of itself.  The moment I become too sure of myself or begin to have all the answers, that is when I know I’m headed down the wrong path.

All Things Passing

Creatures is on view through March 23, 2013.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Creatures Winners: Marilyn Canning

Juror’s Choice winner Marilyn Canning says that it would be impossible for her to live without photography. “Photography is something I must do. It’s in my DNA. I have an unrelenting passion to create interesting, well crafted images.” Moved to create images that are emotionally charged, or have a singular beauty, she has found inspiration not only in other artists, such as Wynn Bullock, Sarah Moon, and Michael Kenna, but also in captive environments. “I have long been drawn to images of aquatic life as well as life that once existed and is now on display in museums.”

Juror's Choice Hippopotamus

For Canning’s series Tank Life, she visited over a dozen aquariums striving to capture the strange beauty of captive creatures underwater. “Aquariums, despite their artificial nature, are truly magical. They bring urban dwellers closer to a part of nature that is beyond normal reach.” This desire to unite people with nature is evident not only in her winning image, Hippopotamus, but in her other work as well. In Stuffed: The Beauty of the Beasts, Canning explores the world of taxidermy displays and dioramas in museums around the world. Although the spaces Canning explores with her images might bring us closer to exotic wild beasts, Canning also acknowledges that her series are about just that: an artificial environment. “There is an inherent conflict in these displays. Despite the remarkable skill of the taxidermists and diorama creators who have meticulously crafted these replicated worlds, these displays are fundamentally unreal.”

White Owls

Shooting this work is both time consuming and technically challenging. Struggling with low light, and reflections from smudged and scratched glass is all part of the process. Moreover, Canning’s living subjects are constantly in motion, which require patience and determination. A well-lit aquarium and a considerate crowd is pleasant rarity.

Black Fish Lily Pads, Atlanta

Each silver gelatin image is hand-toned, adding another layer of depth and making a one-of-a-kind image. An unpredictable process, there is always a slight variance between one print and another. “The toning process is quite tricky in that toning continues after the print is removed from the toner, so it’s hard to always know when to pull the print.”
As always, we asked Canning to define success in art. Her response focused on the balance of commendation and quality. While she aspires to critical acclaim and commercial success as many artists do, her view of success goes beyond that:

I continue to strive to create work that is hauntingly beautiful as determined by my personal aesthetic.  Success to me is creating work that is mysterious, well crafted, somewhat unique, has a consistent visual voice and that is of the same caliber of the artists that I most admire.
Creatures is on view through March 23, 2013.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Jennifer Schwartz

The Kiernan Gallery is very pleased to have Jennifer Schwartz as our juror for Open Water. Jennifer is a pioneer of the non-traditional gallery and well known for innovative approaches to establishing a new generation of art collectors. Her projects include The Ten, Crusade for Collecting, Roundtable Review, Walk Away With Art, and Art Feast. We have asked her a few questions about her projects and advice for emerging artists.

As owner of Jennifer Schwartz Gallery, you curate group exhibitions with interesting and diverse themes. How do you think that impacts your approach as a juror for this type of exhibition where you are not seeking out artists, but rather looking through submitted work?
I love looking at new work and discovering photography I was not previously aware of.  It’s exciting and inspirational for me.
Jennifer Schwartz Gallery is a big proponent of bringing art to the people. Most notably, with your projects The Ten and Crusade for Collecting. Tell us more about how these projects came to be and their impact on the photography community.
I feel very strongly that there is a disconnect between the younger generations and buying original art. I created The Ten to encourage people to buy high-quality, exclusive, very-limited, signed photographs at an affordable price point – I call it the “gateway drug to larger collecting” – but I wanted to do more. I wanted to get out there and talk about this issue. We are all so over-saturated with information online, that I wanted to do something different to get people’s attention. 

I think a lot of people in the art world are blaming the economy, and certainly that doesn’t help, but I see it as a cultural issue. People don’t think twice about buying designer jeans or going out for coffee or spending money on a good meal. And I’m right there with them! Generationally, we care about the things in our world. We just haven’t considered adding art to that world. 

I think if you stopped someone who was about to buy a mass-produced canvas art piece at Z Gallery or Urban Outfitters and said, “Wouldn’t you rather spend the same money and buy something original? Wouldn’t you rather find something that you connected with and knew the story of? Wouldn’t you like to buy a piece of art that has value, both monetarily and to you personally?”, most people would stop and say that yes, of course they would. They just hadn’t thought about it like that before. 

I want people to think about it. I want people to know that they can afford real art and that being a collector just means buying an original piece and being thoughtful about that choice. There are a hundred million pieces of art that will match your throw pillows – buy one that matters to you.

I want to do something dramatic to get people to stop and listen. I want to bring art to the people, to get them excited about it and want to extend that excitement to start visiting their local galleries and museums. In my opinion, collecting photography sells itself. Once you start, once you connect to a photograph and are able to bring it fully into your life by hanging it in your home and personalizing your space, you won’t want to stop.

You have written a few excellent blog posts on how to/not to submit to a gallery. What is your advice on presentation and etiquette for those attending portfolio reviews?
It is so important to be professional, thoughtful and organized in every interaction around your photography.  It is not just your images that will make an impression, but you as the artist.

As a gallerist, you spend a lot of time promoting and developing the work of artists at various places in their careers. What does success in art mean to you?
Success in art can be defined in so many ways.  When I work with an artist, I ask them about their goals straight out.  Ideally, in a perfect world, what would you want your career to look like?  So many people think about this abstractly, but to actually get there, you need a concrete destination and a plan. 

The deadline to submit to Open Water is March 15. For more information and to submit your work visit www.kiernangallery.com