Here are some brief statistics. I reviewed 1,174 submissions of artworks and from these I selected 47, representing 46 artists (one artist has two works). This immersive experience, while sometimes exasperating and overwhelming, has largely been a pleasure and an inspiration. I am grateful for the opportunity, to Phil Amrhein, of course, but especially to the artists. As an art writer and curator, my greatest education, by far, has come from artists themselves: how they think and feel, how they risk and explore, the adventurous works they ultimately make. In a video called “Artists Are Like Clouds” sculptor Richard Tuttle has talked of such adventurous art as “renewal,” “a system that produces freedom,” and as “food for your inner life.” I heartily concur. After all my years of writing about art and curating exhibitions, but even more than that living and being with artists, I am always on the lookout for such freedom, renewal, and nutrition. Here is another statistic. 31 of the artists I selected are women, and 15 are men. This was not done by design. It simply happened, and I only realized it in retrospect. However, in my opinion the single greatest change in visual art during my time in the art world (since the early 1990s) has been the rise of female artists, which is unprecedented in all of Western art history, and which is so decisively transforming what constitutes visual art now, as well as going forward. Much of the best work that I have found so engaging (and have often written about and curated into exhibitions) has been by women, and this is also the case here, with my selections.
Now, a word about methodology. I approached this project with no overriding ideology, and I did not try to squeeze things into my own theme. Instead, heedless of mediums, genres, and trends, and largely encountering artworks (and artists) for the first time, I looked for what was inspiring and distinctive…to me; I looked for what seemed, to me, singular, explorative, eventful, and meaningful…..cont.
– Gregory Volk