May 2019 marks my first solo exhibition in several years. It came about a bit by surprise, but then life has been full of surprises in the past year.
In October of 2018 I was at the state art conference, One State, that is organized by Arts Alliance Illinois and theIllinois Arts Council Agency. It was in Galesburg and sponsorship for the conference came in part from the Dick Blick Art Supply company. As part of a field trip a group of attendees and I were at the Blick Outlet store to do some shopping.
While filling my paint basket with my drug of choice I had a call from Teresa Parker, the curator at Illinois Benedictine University in Lisle, IL, a western Chicago Suburb. (http://www.ben.edu/komechak-art-gallery/events.cfm). She called to offer me a solo exhibition at the University's gallery the following year.
The call came out of the blue, as I had not applied. That has been happening relatively frequently. I have been commissioned a couple times by a firm in Texas to make work for public collections, and I was in negotiations with a Hollywood film company about having my paintings used in set decoration for a Matt Damon movie. While that didn't come to be, it was interesting.
I have always liked the critique process. During my two two masters degrees I have sat through countless peer reviews. Most were routine, those that were exception typically were the result of input from peers that had a long history of sharing work and process and, best of all, were doing interesting and challenging work of their own. Having skin in the game is vital.
That said, there is tremendous difference between collecting cheerleaders to offer blanket encouragements, and having a group of trusted and insightful friends spend time with works and find themes, techniques, and ideas that can assist in the sort of path-making that good work progress requires.
I have said that I know I am moving forward if I look back at work I did 18 months ago and find myself slightly embarrassed.