On Writing a Solo Art Show Statement

Art Show Coming Up

In my head I’m having a discussion with my sister Dorothy about art show statements.  Dorothy is in the process of putting together a solo show of my Dad’s work, artist John H. Stermer (1920-1991).  The show will be at the University of New Mexico’s Popejoy Hall (Albuquerque, NM) this November.

The Problem

How does one go about writing a statement for an art show?  What might an art show statement look like?

kittykitty by margaret stermercoxResearch

Thinking off the top of my head, I thought I’d do some online research.  This is not a new requirement, there ought to be lots of articles are art show statements, shouldn’t there?

What I found was that  there are plenty of articles about writing an artist’s statement, but I couldn’t find one specifically about a show or collection statement.  I know they’re out there, but?

I Need Your Help

Since I didn’t find a satisfactory article, I would love to read your suggestions and experiences.  To get the ball rolling, so to speak, I thought I’d write this article.

Brain Storming

Here’s a brain storm type list of what I think a solo art show or collection (we will go with art show) statement might look like.

  • Short.  To the point.  Smallish sentences for easy reading.  Three to five short paragraphs long.
  • Its a story about the collection used in the art show.
  • It introduces the audience, which are potential collectors, to the collection and gives them a clue about what to see, discover or feel.
  • It’s not a bio.  It’s not the artist’s childhood.
  • Written in the first person.
  • Used in publicity and marketing.
  • Specific to the collection of art being shown

Still Life with Toy Pony D25

Sample Statement

I have written a couple from time to time and found one in my archives.  It was for my “MsKitty & ToyPony” collections.  I thought I’d include it as a sample art show statement..ummm, after some editing!

“MsKitty & Toy Pony”

Welcome to the “MsKitty and ToyPony” show!  Its about humor, family and friendship.  Its also about color, boldness and discovery.  Shown here are the highlights of two series of watercolor works:  “MsKitty” and “Still Life with Toy Pony”.

The “MsKitty” series was inspired by my aunt’s cat “Maggie”, also known as “Maggie-magnificat”. I gave her the names “MsKitty” and “KittyKitty”, because she is a proper, modern cat. I like the stoic, subdued expressions of kitties. I also like their ability to go from nap to full tilt boogie in four seconds flat. In the MsKitty series, I am exploring the expression of the individual. Others are implied, as in “KittyKitty”; the text refers to someone off-paper. “Regal Kitty” is a nod to the Cubist sculpture of Henri Laurens. In “Groovy Kitty”, I again include Cubist devices, such a face that can be read as head-on or in profile.

I started the “Still Life with Toy Pony” series after working on “MsKitty” for a year or more. Where “MsKitty” is about the individual, “Toy Pony” is the family.   The objects are arranged to tell stories about family relationships. Sometimes the four objects are all linked as a unit. At other times, I grouped the objects either as pairs, or in an un-even 3-1 arrangement. Each arrangement influences the mood and expression. Another device I used was the animate object, “Toy Pony” contrasted with three in-animate objects, the candlestick, espresso cup and vase. I believe that “Toy Pony’s” character is easier to reveal because of a natural empathy with animals. “Toy Pony” became the star; the candlestick, espresso cup and vase the supporting cast. On a personal note, I seem myself as the espresso cup.

Even though both series were started independently, they took on a greater personal meaning together. They reminded me of my sisters and me. While each painting is designed to stand on its own, together they reflect my feelings about my family. And, if they bring joy or delight to the viewer, so much the better!


I would love to hear your recommendations and suggestions about what an art show statement should be about.


Paintings From the MsKitty and Toy Pony Collections


2 thoughts on “On Writing a Solo Art Show Statement”

  1. Hi Peggy! It is amazing that you are going to have your Dad’s work shown at the University of New Mexico. My suggestion would be to make the artist statement about your Dad’s exhibit would be to make sure that it has much of the same elements as your “MsKitty & Toy Pony”. If you can find anything that maybe your Dad wrote about the collection or remember anything that he said can be used to help craft the statement. You should make sure that the reader knows that you wrote this statement on behalf of your late father and include anything that you know about how he felt about his work in general especially as it relates to the collection that will be on display. Good luck Peggy!

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