Over the last few months I've been feeling that I want to pursue some exhibitions again. For a few reasons, this year I was relatively quiet with exhibiting - only being involved in one group show and one solo show. These were fine opportunities and I have no regrets, however looking back on the last 18 months of exhibiting I feel a bit like I missed the opportunity to do more with how I exhibit.
What I mean by this is that my exhibitions were quite simple - in ways that I now feel a bit unsatisfied with. Each has been photo printed on paper pinned to a wall, sometimes with a few objects. While there's nothing inherently wrong with this, I find it a bit lacking a presentation for me. I really love exhibitions where images are displayed in a variety of ways - on the wall, maybe also a display table, perhaps an object as well. Photography, more than other mediums, is really malleable - there's the opportunity to do so much with it, just because with the same image you could project it, print it on paper, print on fabric, create a collage, cut it up, etc, etc, etc. To see (and love) so much of this variety, but not see it in my own work is a bit disappointing. Sometimes I wonder: Matt why didn't you take advantage of these opportunities better?
See - my impression within art is that it's hard to ask people to take a chance on you. If I, for example, want to exhibit in a really new way (say, build large easels and place work in the middle of the room) galleries or committees would look at my previous work and potentially wonder 'well Matt's asking to do something pretty different with us - can he pull it off?'. I think so - I really do - I feel deeply that I can make my art in new and exciting ways, but getting that yes can be a challenge.
I've been getting really inspired by installation and contemporary art, as it's SO different from how I work. I work by thinking about issues or topics I want to explore, and spending years taking photos and assembling a collection of images that speaks to a variety of history, contemporary problems, ecology, etc, etc. That's one way of making, and it's served me well. However, sometimes I observe contemporary artists who look at making with more play and spontaneity - often making things for particular galleries, rooms or residencies, seeing the opportunity to exhibit as the catalyst to create, rather than thinking about it all first. I like that spontaneity, I like that sense of exploration, I like the space of possibility - I'd like to draw on that more, rather than always being so serious.