Original Article @ http://philly.sidearts.com/2011/06/amie-potsic—curating-art-and-career-development-for-artists/
June 24, 2011
Author: DoN Brewer, Philly SideArts
Amie Potsic believes that you don’t have to be an artist, if you don’t want. “Be an accountant, just be good at what you do.” But, if you want to be curated into a fabulous art show like CONSTRUCT at the Icebox Gallery in the Crane Arts Center, receive publicity and media attention, meet collectors and gallery owners, then you better be really, really good at what you do. As the Director of Career Development at the Center for Emerging Visual Artists, she creates the opportunity for the Fellows, a group of artists not represented by galleries, to exhibit their work in museum quality art shows like the current exhibition, CONSTRUCT, a critically acclaimed installation that exceeds expectations, a quality Amie Potsic looks for in artists.
Since the Icebox Gallery offers virtually unlimited opportunity to create site-specific work with it’s high walls, part of Amie Potic’s job is to secure the venue, working with the directors and financial team to make something special happen that individual artists could not make happen on their own. Without a set esthetic, she challenged the artists to create new work, site specific installations or show existing work in the gallery; Arden Bendler Browning’s large paintings just barely fit in the gallery at Moore College Art and Design, but in the Icebox her paintings have room to breathe, the viewer can step back and take it all in at once, really see where’s she’s going. For Potsic the challenge is not just putting on a great, cohesive presentation, but creating a conversation with the artwork.
Even after all the planning, mock-ups and editing, Amie discovers connections between individual pieces, such as the dialog between Lewis Colburn’s installation, Doorway and Seat, and the adjacent painting by Daniel Kornrumpf depicting people standing in line, that develops into a narrative expressed throughout the expansive exhibition. Potsic said when she saw them together, after all the challenges and fun putting together the show, for her it was one of those perfect moments when things come together. As a curator, Amie Potsic’s goal is to create perfect moments on a consistent basis.
For Potsic, craft is key. Bohyon Yoon’s elaborate multi-faceted sculpture was delivered in it’s own hand-made crates, Lewis Coburn’s 14’tower, he typed out Tolstoy’s War and Peace perched on top, is impeccably created out of lowly 2 x 4’s, Alison Stigora’s breathtaking sculpture, Whirlwind, shows the pure intention and hand of the artist. Even if the art is made with simple materials, Amie calls them lo-fi, as long as it is taken seriously and purposeful, if it insists on itself, is clean and beautiful creating a tension dealing with issues and ideas, then it is elevated to another level. When curating a space, Amie wants to get it just right, “Work it out, until it sings.”
The beauty of the CFEVA Fellowship is opportunities for emerging artists to show in superior galleries, corporate offices, public spaces and individualized settings. Amie Potsic says the art scene has changed, there are not as many of the archetypal galleries where an artist is promoted with openings and dinners with collectors. “There is kind of a glass ceiling in the art world.” Now, what is expected is that artists go beyond, “Lot’s of people think the work just has to be good. It has to be fantastic.” Artists that are dependable, easy going, responsive to calls and e-mails and can express themselves about their own work coherently is the new normal. Self-promotion is important but Potsic believes in doing what you do best. If you need graphic design work done, find a designer that will work with you even if you have to trade. So that when the opportunity arises you will be confident your sales materials like cards and artist books appear professional. In Amie’s experience, there’s nothing worse than an artist apologizing or explaining what they meant to do.
Amie Potsic feels a strong responsibility to say all the things about an artist that they won’t say for themselves, introduce them to people, help them develop portfolios and RFPs and gain confidence. CONSTRUCT is the culmination of Amie’s fine editorial eye, she’s a great photographer in her own right, hard work and the compelling content of the art she has chosen for the show. But the current group of CFEVA Fellowship artists exceeded her expectations, too, allowing Amie Potsic to curate a warehouse-sized gallery with many, many special moments.
So, if you don’t want to be an artist? Then, don’t. Do whatever you want. But, if you want to be a professional artist, talk to Amie Potsic, she has good advice. “If you believe in yourself and your product, then sales is easy.”
Artists exhibiting in CONSTRUCT are: Noah Addis, Arden Bendler Browning, Lewis Colburn, Don Edler, Laureen Griffin, Jordan Griska, Ana B. Hernandez, Mami Kato, Allison Kaufman, Daniel Kornrumpf, Maggie Mills, Tim Portlock, Alison Stigora, Jennifer Williams, Kimberly Witham, and Bohyun Yoon.