Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Notes from an exhibition. Sarteano, Italy. August 24th - 27th, 2017

Janet Harris - Ed.

2017. The time of the internet and virtual reality, why bother to have an exhibition?

For the past 6 years Anne has been coming to Sarteano to exhibit her work in a small gallery in  the heart of the ancient town.  The event lasts from 4 to 6 days and entails physical and mental effort - worry that no-one will come, and no-one will buy.  But ... and there is a big but, she returns every year and loves it.

Her wish is to sell a bronze, just one, but in monetary terms that will cover her costs for expenses and her stay and the cost of its manufacture. 

The exhibition opening 

The paintings are hung,  the bronzes are in place and we wait for the masses to arrive.

The gallery is owned by John and Umberto who live in Sarteano and many of the people who come to the opening are from their extensive network of friends, people who have holiday homes here, friends who have businesses in Sarteano, and locals.  There are also those who know Anne's work from other exhibitions. 

Later. . .  . .

The art appreciation has moved out of the gallery and into the street...

A good evening with chat, wine, talk and some art bought.

Why does Anne do this?

For Anne the event is not about money.  One reason is obviously PR, more people can see her art, but it is the opportunity where those who are interested can meet the artist.  Anne hopes that by talking to her others can understand more about art.  The personal rapport between herself and her interlocuter can be transferred to the art work, where they can know the story behind the work, and recognise the creative process that leads to it, which in turn leads to a better appreciation of the work.

She reassures me that she does not talk about herself all the time.  The exhibition is not about her ego, but it is about doing something valuable, partly a desire to let others know what drives an artist to create, but also to try and foster an appreciation of the art itself.  For Anne being an artist can be many things, and the meeting at the exhibition allows people to find a point of contact between themselves, the art work and the person who created it.  She can communicate her fascination of what she does in words as well as by the image that she has created, and she gets a kick out of the social process when she realises that a connection has been made. 

'Everything has my heart in it, and I am passionate about it.  If my heart is not in it, it does not come out right'.

Day 1

           Friends of friends  from Australia ....

" Irene with Elisa's cat, Stazzema)"
("Irene con la gatta di Elisa, Stazzema")
Pastel on paper.

Cats inside the gallery ...
Cats outside the gallery that arouse more interest from the locals.


Day 2

Susan Braggiotti, pianist and author, swaps a copy of her new book 'Between Fantasy and Tuscany' for some of Anne's cards. (book available from www.valparaisoeditions.us)

 The monoprints are popular.  Pictures are drawn on a metal or plastic plate and hand printed.  Each one is unique.  These prints are of animals.  The gecko lives behind the door of Anne's studio.  The magpie stole her cherries this year and the peacock visits to eat Anne's cat food.

It's lunch time and the gallery is very quiet.  However ...

 outside, one of the neighbour's has been to the market.  All higher thoughts of art vanish.

Culinary Art ...

Final Day

 The pictures must come down and packed up.
The multi-tasking professional artist of today must not only paint and sculpt, but has to find time to lift, carry, negotiate, market, socialise and take risks.  Every event like this, and every piece of work entails effort and risk .
Was it worth it?  'Of course', says Anne. 'New contacts have been made.  People have found out about it.  The exhibition was written up in Centritalianews:
( http://www.centritalianews.it/sarteano-la-natura-e-padrona-delle-opere-di-anne-shingleton-esposte-alla-galleria-acero-rosso-una-mostra-dal-titolo-viaggiando-con-i-pastelli/ ) 
I saw old friends, and made new ones.  We had time to explore Sarteano, the countryside around, etruscan tombs, the luxurious village of Monteverdi, the fantastic Sarteano fresh-water pool, and had some excellent food.  Exhibitions are not just about selling.  Art is not just about commerce (although it helps. Ed...)  2018?'



  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Your definition of what it is to be an artist, that it entails much more than the creative part, is poignant.
    Thank you for enriching our lives, and a special thank you for promoting my book! Susan


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