The Barbara Conrad Gallery in the Durango Arts Center was buzzing Thursday morning as it was preparing for the unveiling of its 40th Annual Juried Art Show, which will open Friday.
Corrales, New Mexico, resident Holly Roberts, an artist whose pieces have been nationally and internationally exhibited, is the juror for this year’s show, and she’s selected about 100 pieces.
So what exactly is a juried art show?
“A juried art show means that one person is selected, usually an artist or a curator or somebody in the arts, to go through the entries and from that try to select some sort of cohesive statement,” Roberts said. “It’s funny because it’s so dependent on the juror’s point of view. I have certain prejudices and certain ways that I see the world that would be polar opposite from the artist down the block.”
As an artist and teacher who has juried her fair share of exhibits (10 to 15 by her count), she knows what she’s looking for in a piece.
“I’m looking for good craftsmanship. I’m looking for overall quality of the image,” she said. “And then I’m looking for stuff I’ve never seen before – there might be a beautiful watercolor of flowers, and I’ve been there, done that, seen it. I’m going to pick the one that’s more interesting.”
To illustrate something unusual, Roberts walks over to a piece made with human hair.
“That’s intriguing because it’s really strong,” she said. “But then it’s the fact that you look at it and go, ‘Oh my gosh,’ it’s really something unusual that I’ve never seen, so that, to me, is very interesting.”
Selecting photographs, too, is a challenge for the juror.
“Now, anyone can take a photograph,” Roberts said. “So what I was really looking for were beautifully crafted (photos).”
In this show, there are no categories; the show is made up of whatever was turned in by artists: Painting, photography, jewelry, sculpture.
Artists whose pieces that weren’t picked for the exhibit at the DAC had the option of showing at Steamworks Brewing Co. – the exhibit’s sponsor – for the Salon des Refuses.