How a New Display can Transform Art / by Jeannine Cook

The show, Glints of Light: Drawings in Silver. has been up a few days at Subrosa Coffee, I had the delight of telling a dinner group of new friends at The Chetwood about the history of metalpoint and showing them images of wonderful master drawings, and now I can reflect a little on the past few days. Good reflections!

My “perch” in Oakland is at photographer Terri Lowenthal’s artist residency, The Chetwood, on Chetwood Street in Oakland. Thanks to Terri, the Subrosa show happened. She curated it and wanted a group of small, square silver botanical drawings of herbs, together with a few other larger botanical silverpoints. Now that the show is hung, it is so interesting to see the work in a new environment, a new context.

This aspect of making artwork look new, different, even unfamiliar has always fascinated me. Even a re-hang of art in one’s own home allows fresh juxtapositions, conversations, appreciations. Far more so does this happen when you have your own art placed in a new context, particularly when someone else hangs the art, selecting what to place where and next to which other piece. I always watch with great interest when this happens, because in essence, the person introduces me to my own art in a totally fresh way. Sometimes it is good, sometimes not so good and one squirms! Chalk up the squirms to a learning experience and one quietly is glad to be given freshly appraising eyes! Equally quietly, celebrate when the art passes muster and looks harmonious, professional and appears to interest people.

Now I have some days before giving a Metalpoint Workshop at Celery Space, Berkeley, on Saturday next, March 2nd. Perfect, because with my fresh eyes, thanks to the Subrosa and Celery Space shows, I can now retreat to my small drawing table at The Chetwood, and start drawing again, my absolute passion.