Courtesy Michael Foley
We have been a big supporter of the portfolio review process for emerging artists. We have attended many sessions over the past year and talked to dozens of reviewers and artists that have participated in the review process. One of the leading lights in guiding emerging artists is Michael Foley of the Foley Gallery in Chelsea. When we attended one of his panel discussions last year he made a number of concrete suggestions learned from years in the fine art photography dealer world (including a stint with Howard Greenberg).
One of the areas of concentration for Foley is artist participation in the portfolio review process. His suggestions are found in a new PDN article:
Foley has found that photographers benefit from spelling out a goal for the work—whether they want it to be a gallery show, a photo essay or a book. “If you have articulated in writing what you want to be doing and what the work is about for you, you can talk about the work with a reviewer.”
Foley says some of his students strive to write about their work in flowery or academic language, but that’s not the point. “The artist statement to me fundamentally provides background about a body of work. It gives me details about the subjects, who they are or where they are; technical info if it’s important –like it’s taken with a Diana camera or produced with a specialized printing or Photoshop technique. But I think it [the statement] should ultimately answer one question: ‘Why do I do the work that I do?’ I need to know that about you as a portfolio reviewer.”
The insight we have gained from the portfolio review process is that being prepared is essential in attaining a “return on your investment” of time and considerable dollars spent on the review process.
For more from Michael Foley: PDN
For our checklist in preparation for a review: BWGallerist On Portfolio Reviews