I just received notice that my batik painting “A Pod Thing Happened” was accepted into the 60th Mid-States Art Exhibition. I’m a little stunned because I got an email rejecting the other piece I submitted (“What Once Was Twice”) and I thought that was it.
I had a sort of powerful reaction to reading the acceptance letter because I just assumed it was a follow-up rejection notice. Opening any letter from a gallery after submitting work is nerve wracking, but especially so in the case of a prestigious regional show like the Mid-States. In this moment I just assumed I would be reading a version of the email; “We thank you for your submission. Unfortunately…”
So the the “Congratulations” jumped right off the page at me and I had to drop the letter on the table to re-read it and prove to myself I didn’t imagine it. And then… Well, I actually cried a little bit.
Rejection is a way of life for the artist. It is a badge of honor really. You work at your art day after day, year after year. You think that you do fairly good work, occasionally exceptional. But typically, and as in my case, rejection notices follow pretty much like night follows day. And the Mid-States show in Evansville, Indiana and the other show at Cedarhurst in Mt. Vernon, Illinois had rejected me several times in a row after accepting my piece “Fabricantes” way back in 2008.
Recognition on the other hand is a precious thing. We are really just big show-offs, we artists. Someone made the big mistake of being enthusiastic about our scrawlings long ago and we got hooked on repeating our little magic tricks. That’s a very shallow way of describing the artistic process I know, but there’s a bit of truth to it. But thank goodness for people who have the kindness and grace to show that recognition for us because art dies in the echo chamber.
I went to the opening receptions for the 2008 event in Evansville and was blown away by the quality of the work I was a part of. The Evansville Museum does a fantastic job collecting the finest regional art for that show. They claim that over 300 works of art were submitted. I am one of the fortunate 45 to be chosen.
So happy? Oh yes. Very. It’s been a long time.
Now back to work.