"Small Works" at Trestle Gallery

Hello all!

The past three weeks I have been looking through a pool of 746 applications for the “Small Works” exhibition at Trestle Gallery opening on July 26 in Brooklyn, NY. Even though exhibitions have been juried for many, many years, I thought I would share the process by which this one was juried. 

Every year Trestle Gallery offers a call for their annual “Small Works” exhibition. 

Submission guidelines for the call were the following, as were stated on the Trestle Gallery website: 

- Pieces may be no bigger than 12" on the longest side - we accept 2D and 3D framed and unframed works of all media. If a work is framed, the frame can be a maximum of 2" larger than the piece itself, making the max dimension 14"
- You may submit up to 3 works for consideration
- Images must be in JPEG format, 1000 pixels on longest side
- CV and Statement must be submitted in PDF form
- National and international artists are welcome to apply. As a non-profit we don't have a shipping budget, so should an artist be selected they will have to cover the cost of shipping to and from the gallery.
- As a non-profit gallery, Trestle splits all sales 70/30, with 70% going to the artist.

The cost to submit up to three images was $10.00 with Submittable taking a percentage.

The fee I am receiving will be $250.00.

Due to space restrictions, I could only choose 64 artists out of an applicant pool of 746:

50 people who considered themselves women
13 people who considered themselves men
1 person who considered themself non-binary

Most of the 64 artists accepted live outside of New York City.

It took me three weeks to get through the process and I learned a lot. Here are the reasons why I didn’t accept some works in the exhibition:

–Context is everything. The work must be in context with each other and fit together in harmony as to my vision of this exhibition. 

–Some pieces were not photographed well at all. It would really help if artists would care for their work and show how serious they are about their work by investing in good photography. Those with photography of poor quality were immediately put aside.

–Some of the photography did not show the work as an object and looked cropped, therefore, I couldn’t get a sense of the entirety of the work.

–Some people tried to show a lot in one photograph but were not so definitive as to what they wanted to submit. It wasn’t clear.

Those chosen had modest statements that talked about their work, images were well photographed, and worked well in context, in concert with other works put together. If there was a theme, I would say that there was an intangible lean toward identity, vulnerability and a certain tension I look for. As I’ve always said, there is no such thing as a “rejection.” It’s just a difference of opinion.

As I have said in the past, if there is a fee there should be at least comments given to those whose work was not accepted. I have also commented on the flawed Hopper Prize as being problematic. I gave a comment to each person whose work I did not include in the exhibition, basically reflecting my thoughts on one of the responses above. I also offered my email address to every participant to put on their mailing list. In my opinion, this is the least a juror can do for each artist who applies for such a call. 

In addition, Trestle Gallery is offering to the artists who were not selected an on-line exhibition of their work: one piece per person with no additional fee. For this, Trestle Gallery has committed funds toward the on-line exhibition for 6 months. This is fantastic and I totally applaud Trestle Gallery for doing this. Every organization needs to take note as this is easy to do and not expensive -- a great model to replicate.

I’m grateful to Jen Nista and Rhia Hurt for their amazing hard work through the process. They were absolutely lovely to work with. 

Installation will take place from July 24-26, with the opening on 7/26 from 7-9pm. If you want to stop by and say hello, I’d be happy to see you. 

I realize this was not sustainable for me to do this work at a fee for $250.00. However, my thought is by doing so, I could lay some ground work so we can perhaps change how these calls are carried out. 

Many thanks to all who submitted to this and for having me as a juror for the “Small Works” exhibition at Trestle Gallery. I'm so proud to have participated in this process. I recommend it for every artist to experience at some point in their lives. Hoping to see you on July 26!