(Photo by Brandon Webster Photograph)
During a critique in a painting class in art school, I once suggested that if a classmate had changed an element or two in her still life there would be an implied narrative (the illustrator in me, of course, thought any sort of narrative was an improvement to all art).
"Yes, that's true," was my instructor's response. "But then it'd be your painting and not hers, wouldn't it?"
I've always remembered this exchange, which perfectly illustrated the fine line between critiquing a piece of art for being bad, and for criquing someone's work simply because you would have not done the same thing.
And it was how I felt when looking at Ami Martin Wilber's work at Flashpoint. I didn't have any critiques that would make her work better, per se--and the eggs she had fashioned out of alabaster were lovingly crafted--only critiques that all began with, "Well, if this were MY work, I would have done XYZ." Mostly, I wanted to see the idea of gestation explored as a process in which something turns into nothing, when very small things that no one can see turn become large and alive. Instead, there was no sense of process--there were white polished stone eggs placed carefully on the floor, but nothing that suggested that gestation has a beginning and an end. Rather, putting the eggs on the ground implied that gestation is something you happen to come across almost accidentally. A valid interpretation, but not one that I necessarily agree with.