December 5 2008 - January 10 2009
Gallery Saintonge is pleased to announce its first Juried Exhibition, juried by Hipólito Rafael Chacón, Professor of Art History and Criticism in the Department of Art at The University of Montana. After reviewing 546 submissions from across the nation and Canada, H. Rafael Chacón, selected 37 pieces, including 28 artists in the exhibit. The work was juried anonymously, and according to Dr. Chacón, final selections were chosen based on “intrinsic merits, in terms of the strengths of the ideas they present and their execution.” Chacón looked for work that was “the best of a genre, but especially works that critique, comment on, and/or expand upon tradition.”
Born in the 19th century and raised in the 20th, photography is considered the quintessential modern medium. Whereas recent critics have pondered the questions “is painting dead?” and “does sculpture matter?” photography has only grown in relevance and accessibility in the post-modern period. Ours is a visual age and photography is clearly central to our current definitions of art.
Jurying an invitational exhibition such as this one is a revelatory experience because one has the unique opportunity to see photography on a national scale. Certainly, much of the work submitted looks backward to great and inspirational moments in the history of the medium. Some work lies at the experimental edges of a discipline quickly evolving, both in terms of technology and content. Still, many more artists work somewhere in the middle. One is also keenly aware that beyond the artificial boundaries of photography as art and the parameters of this competition, there are millions of amateurs employing the medium, professionals using it for purely utilitarian purposes, and a small group of pioneering individuals exploring the photographic image in the new universe that is cyberspace. What is true is that the contemporary world takes the medium of photography very seriously.
In blind jurying, I strive to judge the work on its intrinsic merits, in terms of the strengths of the ideas it presents and their execution. I look for the best of a genre, but especially works that critique, comment on, and/or expand upon tradition. This exhibition is a hopefully a balance between particularly fine versions of familiar categories and innovative works that invite the viewer to rethink our expectations of the medium.
H. Rafael Chacón