I really dislike groups for mutual admiration but at the same time I realize that they are a inextricable part of life. One just needs to be aware of the purpose of any such group.
You may remember I wrote a blog post recently about the fact that I was rejected by the online registry for contemporary art Axis, one that is funded by the Arts Council and where membership costs £ 30 per year. In other words, a lack of resources is no excuse for elitism. Well, apparently I'm not the only one with some questions and complaints! Read this by Craig Smith who tries to find ways of supporting artists: through a newsletter you can subscribe to ( among other things it offers artists regular lists of opportunities).
"The recent cull of artists from the Axis register highlighted once again the issue of artists' visibility.
With a remit to represent recent development in UK contemporary art, Axis' representation seems fixed on style rather than substance. Why should the distinction of modernity prohibit artwork from being contemporary?
Maybe it's simply that Axis are at the limits of their ability to process artists' information, but for an ACE-funded organisation it's increasingly looking like a private members club.
We share no such prejudices at isendyouthis and have been working for the last two years to find a way to move artists from invisibility to connection.
Spurred on by recent events, development work has been accelerated and we're just about to launch our free national database for artists. Consider this your invitation.
Whatever your art form, genre or location, if you are seriously engaged in your practice - student, emerging, mid-career or established, with or without gallery representation – then we believe there is an audience for your work.
Through this central database isendyouthis can connect you to opportunities, galleries, sales, resources, suppliers - free of charge. It's what we mean when we say 'connecting the artworld'.
The artregister will be promoted extensively. Everything will be tailored to target your visibility as an artist. Entries will include contact information, a brief statement about your work and direct links to your website and social pages. isendyouthis artportfolios are included in the database so if you wish to show a selection of your work then that’s the option to choose."
Well, the website suggested a high profile gallery but it was in fact situated in a warehouse ( you might expect something of the sorts from the description "alternate" and "chameleonic" that weren't there when I submitted my pieces). You didn't really know where the gallery ended and where the workshops began. I didn't mind this per se but it's not what I expected. The art was not bad but seemed very young and immature, as if compiled of projects done at art college.
Some bad laser copies of even worse photographs of something nebulous hung on a washing line. A series of photographs showed a young woman in various corners of a bedroom. The obligatory bleached out polaroid photos (in case you hadn't noticed, this as well as photography with old plastic cameras is a big trend) were present. Two big charcoal drawings highlighted the pattern of old dresses. There was an arm chair that was painted white and some rusty objects were laid out in front of it. A room had some rather nondescript photos that I didn't have the patience to figure out arranged in gold frames around a fireplace with an ornate standing lamp. Cardboard boxes filled up another small room and there was some old thread and some lace. The third room had a installation we thought was the most interesting of the pieces; figure drawings were laid out in the midst of something that looked like the insides of a human being, suggesting a conflict between the portrayal of bodies on the outside as opposed to the inside.
There were also some other installation of some objects that didn't make much sense to me and I can't remember what they were, as well as some charcoal drawings of people in a nice, somewhat naive style.
I found the exhibition sadly lacking in any deeper references to a woman's reality (as it was supposed to refer to International Women's Day). It all looked contemporary, as if copied from a school book on conceptual art, and unsurprisingly therefore quite vacuous. In fact, our distinct impression, although possibly false, was that this was an exhibition of a group of young people who all knew each other. At least my mind came to rest as I had no regrets about not having been part of this exhibition.