Amid the sniffles, sneezes and viruses of the post-holiday season, I was privileged to be able to attend the opening reception for my new exhibit with Monica Rao, entitled Within Me, held at the Gallery at UNOS. Monica Rao is a professionally trained artist who recently returned to her artistic roots. She is married to Virginia Commonwealth University president, Dr. Michael Rao.
Throughout the Christmas vacation, I had diligently matted and framed my works in anticipation of the January 10 opening. I cursed the amount of time it took and asked myself repeatedly why I had bothered. Once everything was ready, I peered closely at the result and eventually stood back deep in thought. I knew from the start that the basis of my exhibit would be my series of photos based on the core values. But, I was asked to submit some additional pieces and that’s where the head-scratching began. I had seen some photos of Monica’s works and knew that she painted abstract canvases. I’ve always struggle with what one could loosely term “inventory”. I have neither the time nor the space at this point in my life to be prolific.
So, I was torn. I had some pieces already framed. But, they were what I would call “standard” photos. And, I knew they would contrast too greatly with the abstract paintings hanging close by. So, in a last minute mad dash, I opted to show four additional pieces that were far more abstract. Three of them began life as straightforward macro shots. One actually started out as an iPhone snapshot. By including those pieces, I felt the exhibit would be more cohesive.
Once I had decided on the final nine pieces, I felt relieved but also much more confident about my choices. Exhibiting to me is a risky business. I feel as if I’m baring my soul. How will they be received? Do I stand by my work? Am I satisfied with what I’ve produced? Do I truly care how others feel? As I stepped back and looked, I knew I felt happy. It’s a peaceful, contented place. A place to strive for. A place worth working towards.
The evening itself was a festive occasion, with refreshments provided by the Bull and Bear Club, here in Richmond. As the wine flowed, people talked about art, life, love, relationships and everything in between. I was so grateful for the presence of friends who had turned out on what was a typical, miserable January evening. I was pleased to get the feedback and hear the comments about my work and felt spurred on to continue down this crazy and circuitous path. I now know that I want to push the limits of my creativity. I now know it’s OK to be cerebral in my approach. I now know it’s OK to take this wherever I want it to go.