Rank Strangers in Milwaukee opening this Friday

rankstrangers
In my fantasy world, a lack of posting is due to an overabundance of bon-bons and romance novels. In my reality, it is due to the production and preparation for my first solo show, opening this Friday at Dean Jensen Gallery in Milwaukee (details above), and the flurry of last minute assignments one always gets when one is desperately trying to pack for a road trip.

Since leaving grad school in 2005 I have made a concerted effort to have my work exhibited, and it has been a natural progression thus far with each experiencing building on the previous. Mistakes have been made. There have been poor framing choices, and in the beginning a bit of cluelessness regarding how to get that consistently good looking print. (Hint: if exhibiting in a series try and shoot with the same film family, but hey free film is good film too, just try not to mix it up in projects).

We’re exhibiting about 24 pieces in this show, it is HUGE. And I am grateful to all the previous experiences that taught me what I need to do to get this one off in a timely fashion, with beautiful prints that will not shame me into a career in real estate.

I originally intended to do a post about the ins and outs of a gallery show, but I am deciding to open this up to you dear reader. I don’t claim to be an expert, but I am an eager listener, and if you have any questions along this topic, please post in the comments below and I’ll be glad to give you my two cents.

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10 thoughts on “Rank Strangers in Milwaukee opening this Friday

  1. Congratulations. I would love to hear more about the ins and outs of a gallery show. And, if you expand a little on the “framing choice” that would be quite interesting to me.

    I’m sure the show will be a huge success.

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  2. Let’s get down to brass tacks:
    1. What’s your matting method madness.
    2. What matboard/backboard choice and who slices and dices (and while we are at it what ply and which bevel)
    3. Ok frames – whose and wheres
    4. Putting it together – I assume you but if not come on give it up (is your pooch implicated?)
    5. You mentioned the fun associated with printing consistently from different film types (free film is good film in my book too), so how’d you do it. Somewhere or chez vous. Details, evidence, let’s go.
    6. Now, on to the mysterious: would you describe your approach to exhibiting as a pyramid or a maze?
    7. Are you chartering an Airtran or Skyview (ok Southwest)to Milwaukee and will the gallery serve Pabst Blue Ribbon?

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    • Also Paul et al, I highly recommend the book Art/Work. And if you are in DC this wknd the author’s will be presenting at Connor Contemporary. Sadly I am still enroute home:

      WPA PRESENTS
      No Artist Left Behind: Top 10 Things Every Artist Should Know
      August 1, 4-6pm
      Conner Contemporary Art
      1358 Florida Ave NE

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  3. OK all, am stopped over in Kent Ohio en route to Milwaukee and will take some time to talk about printing and framing and matting and airSubaru Paul! You think I make these fast food photographs flying!!! (though there is plenty of that in the airport).
    1. printing. now that archival pigment ink printing has proven to be more enduring than c-print processes, well known artists like Alec Soth and Brian Ulrich are employing that process. For my sense of place series which I print as 17×22″ prints, I use my epson 3800 inkjet printer. I don’t have space for a larger printer, and printing that show was full of frustrations with ink leaking on otherwise pristine prints or the paper not feeding correctly. You will want to consider this when deciding whether to make the prints yourself or not. Your labor and frustrations should factor into the equation. For Rank Strangers which is larger scale : 20×24’s and 30×40’s – I definitely use a lab and am making c-prints, I like the paper better than the crane’s museo silver rag I print my sense of place on, but I haven’t tested the prints on both because I am happy with my digital c’s. I have made more affordable prints at printspacenyc.com which is more do it yourself, as well as at my local lab (not affordable here, but closer) at chrome in georgetown. The thing to keep in mind is you must use a calibrated monitor, have a profile for the paper you are printing on, and soft proof. Even though my local lab is full service I cannot and don’t rely on their technicians to create my exhibition ready files, they cannot evaluate the image like I want, and they don’t allow me to stand over their shoulder. Certain things like sharpening, noise reducing are hard to evaluate on the screen, so I try not to rush the process and allow myself the time to evaluate at least one proof print. You can find good tutorials for this type of thing online, and I bought a $30 printing tutorial from luminouslandscape.com back in the day that got me up and running. Printing is not cheap. I have heard people like using the online service provider white house, whcc.com (i think). If you want to blow real money and get the creme de la creme, laumont in nyc is the place to go.
    2. Framing.
    If you need affordable classic, the precut nielsen frames are the only way to go. I usually end up running out to utrecht, my local art supply store, at the last minute before shipping a print off to a group show. The thing is, they look prefab. But honestly, if you are in some group show in BFE, it can be expensive enough to ship your print out there. We are in a recession. That said, lots of people will put a lot of work into their frame, and first impressions are everything. Right now the hot thing seems to be white frames. I like them for their modern simplicity. My current show is being hung in white wood frames, and I can’t tell you anything because Dean has taken care of everything and yes, it is divine. I asked for them because the work is so color saturated I thought it would make them pop, NOT (solely) because everyone else is doing it. I am a lemming, but a lemming from the Age of Reason. For sense of place I bought dark wood frames from my local do it yourself place, frame of mine, on Capitol Hill. I love them, they work perfectly enhancing the old world nostalgic look of the prints without distracting thanks to the clean unornamented lines. I negotiated a tidy discount for a bulk order and they were significantly less expensive because I framed them myself, except for the long panoramics because I cannot handle that job. Online places that I have used are americanframe.com. The problem with this is you pay for shipping, and huge wood frames,and Glass! shipped to you assembled are not cheap. Rachel Hulin has a great post about framing with White Mule Picture Frames on her blog here: http://rachelhulin.com/blog/2009/05/it-takes-a-village-white-mule-picture-frames.html: . The next time I’m in NY I would like to get a piece framed with White Mule because I think it would be worth the expense to collaborate with someone so dedicated to her craft, and a good learning experience for me. Rachel’s blog goes into more detail about the problems associated with floating large scale images in frames – the need for mounting – and since I save a lot of money shipping rolled, and I don’t think a nice 8ply is egregious, I don’t mind my large scale floating in a sea of white.
    3. Matting. I like to keep it simple. 8 ply archival, not polar white but close, the thicker the better with the bevel skinnier at the top, i forget what you call that. A nice double mat looks sweet too. I’m old school that way. The thing is, I always do this at shows – is to check out other people’s work and see how it feels to you. I’m always lifting up the bedskirts so to speak at gallery shows. The annoying one feeling so superior when I find the digital grain in the shadows ; ) Oh yeah, and I never cut the mats, really, so bourgeois! Actually it is because I am a hamfist, and cannot cut a straight line to save my soul. Something to do with gin gimlets perhaps, but if loving them is wrong I don’t want to be right.
    4. Printing with different film emulsions.
    Total pain in the ass. It is bad enough that I am shooting under different lighting conditions all the time, even the same emulsion will have different casts in shadow, direct sun, surrounded by a cyan sea. In short, I don’t recommend it. I have become fairly adept at using levels, selective color, and hue/saturation (all in nondestructive layers natch) to try and make everything not look like a rainbow tribe of prints, but I am unsuccessful, I think. Also, I am not exactly a photoshop saveur, so I know a bit, but I’m sure if I spent the next six months devoted, I would learn a lot more. That is just life. Fact is, I’d rather be taking pictures. I’m going to try and keep my projects emulsion monogamous, but god help me, I still do stray, I just can’t help myself. Jesse Jackson will be visiting me shortly for the prayer and counselling. I’ll let you know how it all hangs together when I see this show. You can get a good idea from cholita – which has been shot on both fuji chrome, color neg, and lately kodak portra. Not entirely my fault – I didn’t realize it was all going to be one project, I got the assignment to shoot the first part when I was in Peru and there was no finding medium format film, so I had to settle for the goody bag I brought with me. I know, you don’t want to hear excuses. I am schizo and sado-masochistic.
    5.My approach to exhibiting is a maze. I enter some group shows if the juror is right, and then for the non-juried stuff I have practiced a let them come to me so they will really want you. I don’t send cds to galleries that I want to exhibit with. But I do establish friendly contact with ones I like and gently keep them informed of my whereabouts in a no-sell manner. We will wait and see if this approach has merits.
    6. The Subaru is transporting me in the style to which I am accustomed as I will spend a week sojourning in our fair mid-west hopefully creating new work and not eating too many brats and no PBR – I have a delicate stomach for that sort of thing. Though I don’t know what Dean is serving, as I decided that once he acquiesced to my framing request that i would not push my luck and further request libation or condiments.

    Anything I missed or more specific requests just say the word.

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  4. Yeah!!! Congrats. Good luck on the success of the opening and I hope you sell lots!! Now with this complete what is your next endeavor?

    If you down my way stop by. You have a place to stay.

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