The submissions to the exhibition “Heritage and History”, offers diverse aesthetic positions featuring a broad range of studio practices, with some artists employing traditional techniques and others embracing new and more technologically driven approaches. In attempting to establish critical and conceptual frameworks to address the submission to this exhibition I looked to three basic principles to guide my decision making.
- The first is that the art must be visually compelling. It should work on several levels, visually, emotionally and intellectually. The artist statements that accompanied many of the submissions greatly clarified my thought process.
- The second is that the artwork must be conceptually coherent with the exhibition’s theme, and the theme of “heritage and history” is a fairly loaded concept. Heritage and history are linked in that there is no heritage without history and there can be some contentious debates regarding both. In order to put some space between the politics of these notions I used these definitions as part of my conceptual framework. Historyis the study of the past and heritage refers to objects, qualities and values passed down from generation to generation. I tired to keep these ideas foremost when looking at the art.
- And third the artist must demonstrate sufficient mastery of his/her chosen medium to intelligibly express their idea.
Although these concerns frame my thinking I willingly admit this approach is imperfect. I confess I am subject to the limited experience of my education, professional life, the influences of friends, colleagues, and lastly idiosyncratic preferences I cannot explain. The only thing I can say with certainty is that the more I see, the more I learn, and the more the above criteria will change.
In nearly 40 years of museum and art gallery work I have had the good fortune to participate as a juror in exhibitions all across the country. Over time I have to come to see the juried exhibition as creative a collaboration between the juror(s) and the participating artists. I’d like to think this exhibition is an aggregations of the theme stated in the exhibition proposal, the artists creativity and vision and the juror’s experience and education merging into a vision that (hopefully) honors the exhibition theme and inspires thinking about heritage and history in new and creative ways.
I’d like to take this opportunity to offer my sincerest thanks to all the artists who submitted work to the competition and to the great people at Framations Custom Framing and Art Gallery for the kind hospitality and granting me this privilege.
Terry Suhre, Director Gallery 210, University of Missouri-St. Louis, December 5, 2018
About the Juror:
Terry Suhre holds a B.F.A. in Painting from the University of Illinois- Urbana/ Champaign (1976) and a M.F.A. in Painting (1980) from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale. He is currently the Director of Gallery 210 and Research Professor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Prior to Suhre's appointment at UMSL he was director for five years at the Catherine Smith Gallery at Appalachian State University, Boone North Carolina, where in addition to the curatorial, administrative and teaching duties he oversaw the visual arts component of An Appalachian Summer. Suhre began his career at the Illinois State Museum in Springfield where he worked from 1980-1990. Since1983, he has organized and curated dozens of exhibitions. In addition to his university teaching and gallery responsibilities Suhre serves on several community arts boards and is active as a guest curator and juror.