I suppose its a certain numbness one gets too at this time, the numbness from a lot of work and I think sometimes a mix of conflicting emotions, maybe in the weeks and months after I am done and moved out of and settled in away from school I will be able to better reflect back on the end of the MFA process and my time as a student.
I very happy with my ASE wall and have a great spot right by the stairway and food, so I should get plenty of traffic and that will hopefully lead to sales! My friend Barb Young who has been framing my work for several years now did an outstanding job matting and framing the pieces and they look great. I feel I can actually relax now and enjoy the rest of the ride out the door even if I get kicked in the shins on my final review. For now it feels so good to be basically done with the whole thing except for my final crit in front of my wall. The last month has been the busiest one I think I have ever had between PAFA, teaching and commercial assignments. Its a grind I would never want to repeat, but its paying off now and that feels good.
I think the pieces hang well as a group, I am really happy with the way the wall looks and having two extra pairs of hands made the process go much faster and a lot more fun. There were a few fellow students hanging their work on Sunday when I was hanging, and that meant the big rush would be coming in the next few days as the deadline to hang the work was last Wednesday afternoon. Brian Boutwell and Mike Gallagher who were in charge of running the show kept a tight ship and these guys really do an awesome job helping prevent disaster and meltdowns. There guys deserve all the kudos and cold brews they can get!
I learned in the undergrad that getting done as early as possible was the best choice for your ASE wall, so you buckle down early in the semester, bust your ass and that makes the last few weeks easier when you have all of the papers and other things hit you almost every day. If any perspective PAFA painters are reading this (and I know you are) that is my advice. Work early and hard as it will make the end so much better and more enjoyable. I know 30 years of handling deadlines as a pro also help me here as I have learned to live by the deadline and pace myself. Time management is key here, something we all struggle with.
It was fun to walk through the museum and the two floors the rest of the week (Undergrad on the first and MFA on the second) and watch the show go up and see the work by a lot of undergrads I don't know and those that I do. I also pitched out when I could and helped some fellow artists get their pieces done. I enjoy that part of the process a lot, and I think that is something I will miss. I had my final talk with Judith Schaechter in front of my wall for the end of my seminar with her class. Judith banged my writing again in the class as a whole, but liked my landscapes. She also didn't like the draped or hooded female figures, like most of my teachers, yet time and time again I had my fellow students tell me how much they liked them as I received comments on my wall all week. Interesting, it really seems to be a generational thing with those paintings.
The MFA1 crits were this week as well and I did manage to catch the last day of them to see what the first year artists were up to. Some were kinda' so-so-straight forward and one was a bit more contentious. That's good as it shouldn't all be just nice hand shakes and co-signs. I made it to my friend Gabriel's crit despite the terrible traffic, the result of the torrential flooding ran we had this week.
I also don't want to hear the word "contemporary" ever gain, or at least for a long while! I think its the most overused and miss-used or applied term in the art world.
My final crit in front of my wall is Tuesday afternoon, right after lunch, and then Thursday is the Women's Board Preview Night and graduation on Frday and the public opening of the ASE. This will be a busy week and one to celebrate!