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Sounds like your distric members live for "the white cube"!
It was silly to chastise you over this, but understandable I guess. To me,
this seems to be a convention based on theory that leads us to accept the
neutral, preferably a white background or matting as a standard. I think
it's cultural, and those kinds of things are rarely overcome by fiat or
You have no doubt heard the oft repeated "I don't know much about art,
but I know WHAT I LIKE!" actually I believe the reverse to be more
accurate -- "I don't know much about art but I LIKE what I KNOW."
We are, all most frequently, suckers for the familiar. Being unique is
important but unique in something of a familiar manner is de riguer! I ran
into this all the time when I was actively seeking galleries with my
my more non-representative stuff. A director would get all excited and
then stop and acknowledge that they had never sold work like this a pause
and then came a reference to a friend's gallery who might take the risk.
When I began producing something more familiar and recognizable interest
grew. Unfortunately, my own interest in such work couldn't be sustained
<G> the life of an artist alas.
As to your problem I can see no good argument for any one insisting on
certain matting in terms of simple display. Colored mats can work well for
ANY work child or adult. One exception occurs in the jurying of work
(which you don't connect with this incident). A fairly unified and neutral
background assures that presentation does not unfairly add or detract
in the perception of a work. In the strict setting of a museum or in any
case where an intense attendance to the work is professionally required
or where it is desired to emulate "professional" strictness -- color would
be an intrudance.
If your students are entering competition at an "adult" level or with
other schools or districts in which this convention is observed; it
probably would be appropriate to my mind. If a photographer requests such
for catalog shots -- comply, I'd say -- why not after all? In most cases
it should be the "gallery director's" call. That sounds like YOU in this
I don't think its worth losing a job over or coming to blows with parents
or district supervisors, for that matter. It's a big world and there are
people out there who believe in absolute rules. Obviously I don't. <G>
That's my two cents on it. Hopefully I haven't chased everyone out of the
"room" droning on like this. Hopefully there will be some opposing views!
On Wed, 24 Jan 1996 ksmurthwa wrote:
> I just came from a district meeting where I was chastised for
> using color mats when displaying K-5 children's art.