Curatorial Rationale (Artist Statement)

What is a Curatorial Rationale?

The Curatorial Rationale is similar to an artists’ statement, but refers specifically to the work selected for this exhibition rather than the general artistic output. Writing the Rationale is part of the process of self- reflection, decision making, and of understanding of the relationship between artist and audience.

Break it down into 3 parts:
  • Overview, concepts, and ideas
  • Selection of works
  • Viewer Relationships

Overview, concepts, and ideas (theme):
You set the stage, so to speak, introducing us to the exhibition, what it is about and what are the underlying themes or threads.
  • How did your theme come about?
  • What are the concepts, issues or ideas you have explored here and how are they linked in your work? 
  • What experiences have contributed to the making of this work?

Selection of works
The second paragraph can be a general discussion of the works in the show, or you may choose to list and discuss each piece individually, making connections among them. Maybe there is a particular piece that is pivotal to the rest of the show and you discuss this one in relation to the others.
  • What materials and techniques have you used and why did you choose these? 
  • Do the materials have an impact on the meaning of the work?
  • How do you justify your selection of works chosen?
Viewer Relationship
The third part of the rationale can address the relationship with the audience and how the curatorial decisions you made may contribute to the viewers response.
  • How does the way the work is displayed, hung, otherwise presented contribute to how it communicates with the viewer?
  • How did you consider the arrangement of the works within the space that you have available?
  • Do you have an overall vision for presenting this body of work?

  • Be HONEST when writing about your work.
  • Do not write fluff or make things up about your work.
  • Refrain from using words such as beautiful, amazing, gorgeous, etc.
  • Stick to the facts!
  • Check your grammar and spelling.
  • Cannot exceed 400 words. 

Journal reflections to build upon
  • What media do you work with? What interests you about work of this type?
  • What themes, concerns and ideas have you have explored in this work?
  • Is there a relationship between the media you use and the ideas that you work with?
  • What outside interests, artists, encounters or experiences have influenced your work?
  • What ties your individual pieces of work together into a cohesive body of work?
  • Is there an ‘intention' behind the work; what do you want the work to achieve?
  • How do you want your audience to experience it?
  • How have your methods of display (how the work is arranged and presented) contributed to the viewer's experience?
  • What is your vision for presenting this body of work (imagine you could have any possible space or display method)?
  • Formal requirements

Examples:
    
    I wanted to use my art to express contrast. I’d wanted to paint things that were beautiful, but also had darkness. Going into this I knew that my skills as an artist were limited because I never taught myself how to paint.
    My first piece, Flying Colors, was an attempt to explore some of my culture by painting a lady doing a traditional Mexican dance, and use color and shape to express the speed and joy of the dance. I used bright colors because I love them and because it is a very vibrant dance, with brightly colored costumes. The patterns in the background reflect traditional Mexican patterns. I think this piece is weak, but it was my first one and really helped me to explore the use of acrylic paint and combining colors.
    My next piece, The Only Light, is another painting because I felt that my painting skills were stronger than my sculpting skills. The piece depicts a jar with a butterfly in it. The butterfly is stuck in the jar while all around it fireflies are escaping. It shows how we are surrounded by crazy and bad things and we can get stuck in the middle of them but we can get around that. In order to get across the pinpoints of light for the fireflies, I built a box behind the piece and put some battery operated lights into it. I made little holes in the canvas so that when the battery lights are switched on and the room lights are switched off, there are actually lights shining.
    I think my two strongest pieces are Falling Leaves and Colored Leaves, sister pieces influenced by a trip to Yosemite National Park. I was intrigued by the size and beauty of the enormous old trees and wanted to communicate some of that with my art. I took photographs of the trees from different perspectives. I made my tree thin at the top and thicker at the bottom to make it look bigger. I used a dark background to emphasize the brightness of the Fall leaves and cold colors on the tree for contrast with the bright leaves. My wire and bead sculpture, Colored Leaves, uses warm and bright colors to express the brightness of leaves.
    My work has been inspired by nature, the darkness that surrounds us has been used to surround my pieces in the exhibition.

Word Count: 399



    I have focused on tying poetry to art to portray emotion, especially the works of Shel Silverstein and Robert Frost. My second year I changed my theme to “old versus new” and I compared past political ideas and social problems to today. I chose these themes because I found it interesting how literature and art can combine to portray emotions and how rapidly the world around us is changing and progressing. 
    The prominent elements and principles in my work are the use of lines, color, value, emphasis and patterns. These have been formed and molded over time but where influenced most by Jasper Johns and Franz Marc. Johns’ use of lines and color inspired me and Marc’s use of patterns and geometric shapes also played a role in forming my artist style. 
    My piece The Bull clearly shows these influences and techniques. I looked at some bull sketches done by Pablo Picasso as well as by Franz Marc. I incorporated textural elements ‐ I used buttons, rice and feathers to express the variations in the texture of the bull’s fur, and used sequins in the background to give the piece a mosaic feel, and to keep the work balanced. I kept the color scheme of the background analogous, using blues and greens to create a feeling of harmony and making the bull brown so that he blended in with the earth tones. 
    think the strongest parts of my works are the unity they all portray. I worked hard to make sure there was balance in all aspects of the pieces. I had difficulties most with the scale and dimensions of my work, but I solved this through gridding and many attempts. My piece Across the Universe is the best example of this, as it was by far the largest piece I made and I couldn’t get the composition to work the way I thought it should. It is an attempt to make a poster for the movie Across the Universe, inspired by the real poster which showed the couple inside the outline of a strawberry (as in Strawberry Fields Forever). I wanted to change the mood of the poster from hopeful to hopeless, and so I depicted the strawberry as having been crushed and dripping with juice. I used a stark grey background so the colors were more graphic and stood out.
Word Count: 392



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