Yesterday I drove out to University of Massachusetts Amherst to attend the opening reception for my solo exhibition “Descent” at the Herter Gallery. It was wonderful to see the work installed in the gallery, and I had the opportunity to speak to a number of faculty, undergraduate and graduate students studying there in the art department.
I think what’s the most interesting part of opening receptions is hearing what people have to say about the work, and also the kinds of questions they ask. Definitely the most asked question of the night was about my technical process and materials. My technique can be quite elusive, even in person, so I spent quite a bit of the opening explaining how I technically made the drawings with etching ink, lithographic crayon, and exacto knives. People were also curious about my model, whether I used photographic references, and whether the portraits were all of the same person. I didn’t get any questions about the subject matter or inspiration for the work, which I found unusual, as that’s typically what people want to inquire about. I wonder if it was because of the nature of my subject matter, the fact that it’s about a personal experience with depression and anxiety, two subjects that are not frequently talked about out in the open. Perhaps people didn’t feel comfortable approaching me in person about such personal subject matter. I think it also depends on the audience-my solo exhibition at the Brown/RISD Hillel Gallery opens next Tuesday and it will be interesting to hear what people ask me about at that opening.