juror's statement - ERIC WIERINGA

Ultimately, I believe the only person fully entitled to judge a work of art is the artist who created it. However, I was given the difficult task of judging and selecting the artwork for this exhibition. My job was challenging for many reasons, the foremost being the overall high quality of work submitted. As an artist myself, I never enjoy rejecting competent work, but with over two hundred and fifty submissions, I was forced to cut entries that otherwise could have easily been considered for inclusion.

My baseline for critiquing the work was a clear demonstration of technical proficiency. I carefully analyzed every entry and considered both representational and non-objective works. While composition, craftsmanship and visual communication heavily influenced my decision, I quickly discovered that quality and design sensibility could not be the only qualifying factors. So, in moments of indecision, I returned to the call for entry and thought intently about the theme of this exhibition.

“Humankind” is simply defined as human beings considered collectively. As I reflected on the title of this show, I wondered what it truly means to be human. Of course one of the beautiful things about humanity is that we are all unique, but what are the common human experiences that connect us as a whole? This idea has huge implications for the role and purpose of art itself; often the viewer observes art in isolation without ever interacting with the artist who made it. Does this imply that the meaning of art is completely dependent upon the audience’s interpretation, or is art a conduit that can translate real feelings and help us to connect with other human beings? Because we are individuals, I can’t honestly say that art communicates to all people in exactly the same way, but I do believe in a thread of connection that links mankind. So, after assessing technical mastery, I choose much of the work because it made a personal connection with me.

I chose each piece displayed here today for a specific reason, and even though no one can truly know whether the meaning of art resides in the artist, the viewer or the artwork itself, within this gallery we share deep bonds of emotion, because the topic we are examining... is us.

I would like to thank the Foundry Art Centre for inviting me to jury this art exhibition. I hope you enjoy the show and draw a deeper and more meaningful connection to Humankind.