There are several criteria which we at Lesley Kehoe Galleries use to select artists: We seek to identify an acknowledgment of tradition, cultural, artistic, and technical, yet at the same time transcending that tradition and recreating it. In this is a recognition of training in technique and discipline of mind and practice.
We seek mastery of technique and material and a uniquely creative use thereof. We search for an articulated philosophy of the work and the artist’s relationship to it. And finally, we desire that ‘x’ factor which combines all of these with the artist’s unique spirit to manifest that inexplicable, inexpressible ‘wow’ that tells us we are in the presence of greatness, realized or potential.
We start with the art itself not the artist. This is perhaps influenced by our long experience with historical works of art where the artist was not available for discussion; where the object took precedence over artistic ego and the idea of an artist statement would perhaps have been laughed at. We do not look first for pedigree, signature, mentors, or political connections.
The appreciation of art starts at the physical level with the object. That object should elicit in the viewer a rapturous response, opening a doorway to personal contemplation and individual experience. The physical object is the beginning of a journey.
In the field of contemporary art, we are fortunate that this journey involves encounters and evolving relationships with practising artists. These relationships enhance our understanding and appreciation of philosophical and technical aspects of the work, but more importantly create that all important triangle of artist, object and viewer – the triangle that consummates the art experience.
The significance of the audience, of the active appreciation of artist and object, cannot be overstated. It is in this interrelationship that art lives and makes its greatest contribution.