In the March 2007 issue of Sunshine Artist is a thought-provoking article about the public's mixed reaction to Mixed Media work, from the perspective of 3 Mixed Media artists. The article goes into a bit of depth about the problems that mixed media artists have in categorizing their work. Indeed, there are so many categories at every level. Traditional gallery or show categories don't always include a special compartment for Mixed Media or Collage work. There is often a catch-all category and Mixed Media work gets lumped in with printmaking, sculpture or any other combination of miscellaneous work.
I feel part of this is because of the large variations in Mixed Media work in the pieces themselves...There is work done in so many ways, with so many varying techniques, it is not an easy thing for comparison. The less amount of variables that are involved, the easier it is for objects to be compared. If all the subjects in a given competition were given simply some paint and paper to work, your contest is accenting certain qualities and talents in an artist. When every object and texture in the world becomes the paint, you increase the variables in the work. This in turn increases the ways that one would have to compare them, and as we know, the more complex things get, the more difficult things are to judge.
I don't think that complexity is a good reason for the lack of specific arenas for Mixed Media artists to be judged and compared. It seems to me as tho the system is old skool, and therefore needing updating. After all, the mixed media phenom isn't exactly brand new, and there IS a plethora of artists expressing themselves in more ways than just a brush, paint and paper. Why is it that institutions are unable to meet the growing needs of the artistic community?
There is hope! Not all galleries or shows are turning a deaf ear to the medium. I have posted on this blog about several galleries that have offered up various riveting collage or mixed media exhibits as of late. Providing them with support and continuing to inform the public about our work is one thing we all can do to promote this special type of artwork.
Some Galleries Promoting Collage and Mixed Media