Surprise and discovery guided my selection more than anything else. Beginning with the number of submissions—a whopping 259! I was like a kid in a candy store. I couldn’t wait to check them all out. But rather than start jurying right away, I decided to wander through the artworks and statements. All of a sudden, I found myself riffing on the word behind the title. SHIFT became drift, rift, sift, lift, and gift. I lingered over works that made me reassess my perspective, my assumptions, even my identity. Just as you can back up and move forward when shifting gears in a car, I discovered that the art I was drawn to often looked to the past as a transition to the future. This reverse action tended to show up as layering, overlapping, fracturing, and blurring. Other elements came into play. I scanned both for juxtaposition and cross-pollination, dissolution and connectivity, interaction and alienation. I searched for what was highlighted and what was missing; what brought joy and laughter and what induced melancholy. Above all, I chose works that I felt were most effective in making the translation to a virtual platform, perhaps the biggest challenge of this show, and tried to balance their visual impact on a screen—the only way possible to experience the exhibition, with content and technique. The result: a very eclectic, at times, riotous group of works, each endowed with some sense of transformation. I hope you enjoy the winding stroll that lies ahead.
A big thanks to all of the artists who submitted proposals, and to Nancy Sausser for inviting me to participate in SHIFT, especially since my fellow juror is my respected friend and colleague, Henry Thaggert.