This coming Friday evening, February 4, 2000, my daughter Sara is having a one-woman show. It’s not her first, but it’s the first since a year of travel and work in Europe. The paintings are mostly from Spain and southern France. There’s an increase in scale over her last show, and while I’m perhaps prejudiced, there are some spectacular works here.
Having done this a few times myself I know how she’s feeling and what she’s going through — what all of us feel at times like this. For one thing self-doubt can rear its ugly head; self-esteem can go into limbo. I recommend admitting to yourself that the commitment to a deadline is part of the process. Some artists find it energizing, others find the pressure debilitating and counter to the natural flow. Some build and explore right up to the last, often doing some of the better work. I have one friend who finishes panels on the aircraft on the way to the show.
I generally set a “phony date” somewhat prior to the show, and work toward that. This gives a cushion of safety in case a new and worthwhile direction is found. It also gives time for thought, second thoughts, effective culling, or adding and balancing with previous work. There’s something really satisfying in getting the whole bolus together and in the hands of an enthusiastic and creative dealer. The pressure is off for the time being and it’s their problem now.
Then there’s the opening itself. I remember my first one-man show many years ago. The only thing I was sure of was that my mom and dad would show up. That day, before the show, my mother gave me some of the best advice I ever had: “Be yourself.”
PS: “Every artist ought to be an exhibitionist.” (Egbert Oudendag)