The Exhibition That Almost Wasn't
In 2009, I was appointed to curate a show for the Gresham Art Committee. As curator, I was in charge of selecting the art and organizing and installing the show. The theme of the show was also mine. Since I am a realist artist that prefers figurative art, I choose to present a show comprised of the best figurative painting, drawing and sculpture I could find. As I begin querying artists whose work I liked, it soon became apparent that they shared my desire to use this show to promote, not only their work but the whole genre of realist, figurative art. In fact, most of the artists in the show participated because of this.

Buoyed by the reaction of the artists to the project, I forged ahead confident that this show would be a milestone in the history of the Gresham Art Committee. I was wrong. Because the show contained nudes, the members were violently opposed to displaying the art. The resistance became very aggressive and by June of 2009, I felt that the only solution was to resign from the Committee and somehow, produce the show with my own limited resources.

I began by looking for a venue that would be appropriate to display the art. This was no mean task. Although the economic slowdown had left many vacant spaces, no one was willing to offer the space for the show. I finally found what turned out to be a wonderful site. The building had been an art glass studio at one time and the space I choose had white walls, 12 foot ceilings, a north facing window wall — in short, perfect! The owner was also willing to let me use the space for my project.

I proceeded to prepare the space for the art. It needed cleaning, painting and lighting. My son, Jason and son-in-law Iain Gordon helped with the work in 6° temperatures,(the furnace was finally lit much to our relief). As the work begin to arrive, the excitement built. The art was breathtakingly beautiful. The quality of the work exceeded my hopes. I soon realized this show had outgrown my original expectations and was taking on a historic drama that might be compared to the Salon des Refusés 1863 show in Paris.

In the final analysis, the show was a huge success. The visitors who came to the reception were all impressed with the art. Many couldn't believe the quality of the work and many others stated that this was the best show they had seen in Portland. Although ignored by the critics and rejected by the establishment, Caught In The Moment was a success with those who matter — the artists and the patrons who love and appreciate their work.