What I do
I write catalogue essays for artists, gallerists and institutions. In addition, I edit and/or create clear and graceful artist's statements and web content. I also offer one on one mentoring with practicing visual artists-- critiquing studio work, setting goals for exposure through exhibitions and competitions, helping individuals figure out what they want to do as artists and how to achieve it.
“The process of working with Maria was great from start to finish. She took the time as a writer to truly grasp what it is I am doing, gain fluency in it, and then write in a way that not only elucidates my work but creates new content that adds meaning. I could not be more pleased with Maria's finished essay. I feel so fortunate to have had her recommended to me by a friend, and would absolutely recommend her to any artist in need of a thoughtful piece of writing on their work." Susanna Bluhm, artist
Producing a catalogue to represent and contextualize your work used to be a costly midcareer event. Hundreds of copies would be printed and paid for by the gallerist, the institution mounting a show, you, or all three.
Over the past decade, online commerce and advances in technology have made print-on-demand, low run and digital publications a widespread phenomenon. Artists can—and often do—create compelling and informative catalogues at any point, whether to start a second career or to build an already existing practice to a more substantial level of critical and/or commercial success.
If you are interested in having an essay written on your work, contact me for a twenty minute consultation, free of charge. I’ll ask you for images before we talk on the telephone so that the conversation can be as useful as possible.
Click here to see some of the catalogues I've worked on.
What some of my clients have said about working with me:
"Nicole Miller, who was responsible for the exhibitions for ArtSpace@WHRC, accepted my proposal based almost entirely on the credibility of your essay. “--Betsy Kellas, artist
“I absolutely think it is imperative to have a really solid essay, by someone respected, and active in the art world. Your essay was amazing - it even gave me some insight into my work. I always think about the color red when I use it now. I think that you offer a special set of skills, since you are a maker and a writer. You understand the artist so much more intimately.” --Laura Ball, artist
“The essay provides such a thoughtful and substantial accompaniment to my work…I included the catalogue in packets of materials which I sent to various venues to apply for a show, and, as a result have been invited to have a solo show at the Morris Graves Museum in Eureka in 2017. I was also invited to have a solo show at Los Medanos College Art Gallery in 2014 after the director saw my catalogue. ” --Ann Holsberry, artist
“Over the last couple of years we have commissioned essays for exhibitions and catalogues and it is such an effortless and enjoyable process. I know I can absolutely rely on her to deliver an interesting, thoughtful and brilliant piece of writing. She has been a great partner to the gallery and I am so grateful for her contributions.” --Lisa Dolby Chadwick, gallerist
As an art writer and professor, I’ve read or edited more artist’s statements than I care to think about. In one to three paragraphs, the artist is supposed to describe the work, present ideas, contextualize a practice, and explain content. It is a very difficult task, especially for someone whose primary medium is visual, not verbal.
Based on a good conversation/ interview and a close look at your images and/or website, I can craft a statement that uses clear, elegant language to to create a description and explanation that is accessible to any interested individual and not just art world insiders. My goal is to give you a piece of writing from which you can excerpt shorter selections as well as use the whole.
To learn more about the structure of the artist’s statement (and why you might need more than one), contact me, and I’ll send you a description of the process as I’ve developed it over the years.
“You have the very rare ability to look and listen deeply, and the experience and expertise to construct an accessible context in which you “hold” and clearly describe what you’ve seen and heard… your genuine interest in and enthusiasm for my work inspired tremendous trust and made the interview/ exploration/ conversation possible…Betsy Kellas, artist
Both as a teacher in graduate programs at various schools and as a visiting artist/critic at many others, I’ve worked with hundreds of students over the past twenty years. Since 2014, I’ve also begun mentoring artists at many different stages in their careers. I can help you figure out where and how you want to exhibit your work, or prepare a portfolio for graduate school applications. Through studio critiques and conversations, I can also suggest other artists to look at and ways to move your practice forward. We’ll meet five times over the course of half a year. Please contact me for further information about costs, or about combining mentoring with a catalogue essay.