Read the comments:
Editor’s Note: Since we posted the press release naming the selected artists for the Exhibition in Print, we have seen quite a bit of communication in the mosaic community about one image in particular, that of Jo Braun’s “Mosaic Plastered Over.”
Mosaic Plastered Over 56h x 39w x 3d inches
Ms. Biggs and Mr. Collings asked for the opportunity to speak more here about their selection of Ms. Braun as their Best in Show Artist and you will find their comments below.
We would like to clarify again that the Exhibition in Print 2011 was designed to reward artists for a body of work, not specific mosaics. The entry process required the submission of three works plus an Artist Statement and lengthy descriptions of each piece. In essence, the Exhibition in Print will be eight “solo shows”; each artist receiving four pages in the magazine. We are grateful for the experience, professionalism and genuine enthusiasm of our jurors — just as we are grateful for the conversation within the mosaic community. We find it exciting, rewarding, and a sure sign of a Rennaisance in the way the community thinks and talks about mosaics — and art.
Comments from Emma Biggs & Matthew Collings
As jurors, we are all art professionals but we also bring personal prejudices to bear on our judgment. Some of these views might be shared by the majority of mosaic practitioners, others less so. There were effectively two jurors, Bernice on the one hand, and Matthew and I making up a single unit. “Both” jurors selected Jo Braun to be on their short lists for the selection in the Exhibition in Print.
Irritation is an understandable response to perceived pretentiousness – but the artwork is only partly represented in the press release, so we feel our juror’s statement could easily be misunderstood. The work is process based, it is in two parts: the first part is a clear mosaic image (Mosaic of Remnants), while the second part is the same image obliterated by lime plaster (Mosaic Plastered Over). The idea of the work includes an invitation to think about the role of desecration in the history of mosaic.
So it’s a rather complicated work, with, as we said in our statement, a conceptual aspect. But by its nature a press release is always a simplification. In this case, it simply stated whom we had chosen and our reasons for the choice, together with a single accompanying image showing the final obliterated stage. It is impossible to judge the one without the other, but happily the whole thing, together with Jo Braun’s Artist’s Statement can be seen in the next issue of Mosaic Art NOW.
The decision of Matthew and I to award the prize to our selected artist was based on seeing three images — both stages of this single work, and another piece that demonstrated the coherence of her interest in this investigation.
Jo Braun gets people to think about the desecration of images. What is an image when you can no longer see it? What role has desecration – the covering over of mosaics — had in the history of mosaic? (The other work was also about interrogating the medium.) The reason for our award was that we believe one of the roles art is asked to play, is to enable us to see familiar things from a new perspective.
We hope, when you read more about her enquiry in MAN, that you will think this is precisely what Jo Braun’s work does.
Emma Biggs & Matthew Collings