Work practices



Bill Morton has judged major open competitive exhibitions over the years and continues with this important aspect of his overall art practice.

The business of judging has its own intellectual challenges, rewards and pleasures. It is a fascinating, revealing and very special method of engaging with the creative process of others and affords an excellent way to interact with other artists and art groups. In an inimitable way, it facilitates an opportunity to become familiar with the state of the visual arts in other regions and other forums.

In conjunction with an ongoing fascination for the creative process, what informs, indeed guides, Bill’s approach to judging is a due regard for the conventions, those acknowledged standards of art and design that are the ‘building blocks’ of a successful work of art.

Well constructed art is a text governed by its own idiom, syntax, context and convention, sometimes a little abstruse, but a text nonetheless. As such it is as readable as the text in a book. This is especially so for issues such as space and the picture plane (see Artist’s statement); elements and principles of design, composition, paint and the expressive use of the language of paint—these are all important aspects of the mix.

Other areas considered are semiotics, where appropriate, colour and composition, colour and symbolism, harmonies and contrasts, and colour and painting of light. All these elements comprise the encoded message contained in the work and it follows that the way they are employed define its spirit and intent and are part and parcel of its ultimate success. These are the sorts of issues assessed as part of the work’s merit and the degree to which they are successful go to make up the key criteria applied in judging.

Justification is another key aspect of the judging process. This is because the forum of a judged competitive exhibition is a seminal aspect of professional development. This is for all artists in an overall teaching/learning (art) educational context.

Accordinly, Bill Morton regards it is most important to provide feedback for the exhibiting artists. This takes the form of two types of presentations:

1. The provision of written comments, which are available for perusal by the      exhibiting artists and other interest parties

2. ‘Walk and Talk’, that is conducting a walk through the exhibition, discussing work      generally and giving reasons for the decisions:
  > The merits of those works selected and why awards were made
  > Critiques of work passed over in the selection process and, again, why.

These comments, most usually of a technical nature, are done on the basis of constructive criticism. All of us can learn from good and bad alike.

In this environment, questions and answers are also most beneficial. The necessity, indeed the imperative, of justification through positive, critical feedback must be included. After all, the forum of the competitive exhibition is a most effective way for an artist to benefit from peer reviews—arguably one of the best.



Art Judge Toowoomba
Art Exhibition Judge
Artwork Judging - Exhibition's

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