There’s an old saying that the pasta is finished cooking when a noodle, fresh from the boiling water will stick when thrown at the wall. I’m not sure if this is true or not, but I love the childishness of this technique. Who would throw a noodle at the wall? Of course there are other ways to test pasta for done-ness. And if you throw enough noodles at the wall, eventually one will stick whether it is done or not. For some reason the absurdity of the image of throwing noodles at the wall has stuck with me.
When I think about the process of exhibiting art, I think about it in terms of throwing noodles at the wall. Its the silliness of the metaphor that I find useful. We artists have a tendency to take ourselves very seriously.
In art we can never be sure if what we are making is “good”, especially if you are doing work unlike any other in your known periphery. When it comes time to look for exhibition/sales opportunities, grants, jobs and the like, we never really know how our artwork will be received. It is easy to take rejection personally.
With my method of making art, the artwork and my identity are very closely linked. I have a high level of personal identification with my work, so it is difficult to avoid feeling personally injured when the art I make is rejected or not appreciated. Rejection happens. It may happen to me more often than some because I make work that is divisive, outspoken, and opinionated. I’m ok with that. My works are monuments to my experiences. The sculptures are my way of finding humor in life’s challenges. Not everyone thinks it’s funny.
Art is a form of communication. We make art because there exists no other language to say what we need to say. Miscommunication happens in every language.
If we are going to persevere as artists we must learn to accept that rejection is not a reflection on our self-worth. It would further to say that it is often not a reflection on the quality of the artwork work either (of course sometimes it is). There are many reasons why a curator, juror, or gallerina will choose one artwork or artist over another. Chances are you will never find out those reasons.
The point is, there is always more pasta to throw at the wall. Eventually one will stick.