Letters of recommendation

December 16, 2007 at 8:12 pm (art, culture, drawing, personal, thoughts, Uncategorized)

I’m spending this snowy Sunday writing letters of recommendation for various positions, schools, etc.

This is a task I take ridiculously seriously – perhaps overly seriously. I only really write about people that I think are really fantastic and I only write for them for specific positions, situations, etc. Meaning, I really don’t send out the blanket So-and-so is a very hardworking and dedicated individual far above their peers blah blah blah letter to any and every school that someone wants me to, just to be polite because I was asked.

Anyway, one of the letters I was writing today was for an artist named Beverly Ress who is applying for a teaching position at a university outside of NYC. I’ve known Bev for several years and, in writing her letter, I remembered all over again just how much I love her work.

As I sat writing the letter, I couldn’t help but grapple with questions like, Why isn’t Beverly famous? Why the hell am I even writing this letter, anyway? Shouldn’t they just give her the job flat out because her work is so amazing? Shouldn’t she be writing letters for me instead of vice versa?

The answers to those questions that I came up with all made me really sad. She’s a woman (yes, I think this has a lot to do with it); she lives outside of NYC; her work doesn’t photograph well; her work is minimal and sedate although it often takes on difficult (ie, not-so-pretty) subjects; her work hovers between various formal boundaries of sculpture/installation/drawing which make it difficult to fit into the marketplace. She’s also just a really nice person who – while she’s really smart and articulate and certainly no pushover – isn’t a forceful schmoozer. She’s just a nice, normal person who cares deeply about her practice and it’s really annoying that somehow that’s not enough for her to be a big shot.

Anyway. It’s come to my attention that a fair number of people read this thing, so I want to use it to draw attention to an artist who really deserves it. Beverly is amazing. Below is an image of her work and it loses tons in the photo, but so it goes. She’s awesome.

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5 Comments

  1. rachelcreative said,

    Wow. This is great.

  2. jordan faye block said,

    I would have to agree with you. I think her work is extraordinary and what you said is right on the money, not only is she super talented she’s also an amazingly lovely lady.

    so I’m working on the ‘making her famous’ part for her. because I know she’s worth it and I can see it in the horizons, her work is serious and quiet, it draws you in and then keeps you captive. I’m the not so quiet one, and I happen to be aggressive and work hard to promote those artists that I believe in, I am happy to have discovered her work at Maryland Art Place in Baltimore, MD and thrilled to be showing it to more people in Baltimore and beyond. We’ll see it soon at Jordan Faye Contemporary in the late spring/ early summer of 2008!

  3. Ignacio said,

    Wow! your artwork it´s amazing. so strange, oniric, and surrealims (sorry my english) i´m chilean illustrator, and my work is on black and white. If you have time, please visit my own site on…

    http://www.iggiart.blogspot.com

    I wait you´re comments.

  4. Christopher Reiger said,

    Indeed, Beverly’s work is fantastic. I’m constantly thinking of curatorial proposals that involve her. Now just to get one or two of them accepted!

    Thanks for writing about her artwork.

  5. Rebecca Clark said,

    Beverly’s sculptural drawings are quiet, powerful, philosophical, and exquisitely rendered. My first encounter with her work was at intimate exhibition at The Curator’s Office in Washington, DC. Her drawing of a small stick blew me away. I immediately sought out more of her work.

    At the urging of a mutual artist friend, I emailed Beverly seeking technical advice and to ask if she taught drawing classes. Instead of responding in a perfunctory way (or not at all), she surprised me by suggesting we meet at a local coffee house. So, on a cold December afternoon we met, hunkered down at a corner table, and discussed art for hours! Beverly gave me invaluable advice, names of artists whose work I should see, materials I should try. She was the art mentor I’d never found. I’ve worked in the art world for a long time and have developed a certain cynicism over how self-centered and competitive artists can be. And yet here was this incredible woman, an artist whose work I admire tremendously, spending her afternoon helping a complete stranger overcome artistic obstacles. I left feeling humbled, grateful, and connected to a greater good. Beverly Ress is a wonderful human being, a wise and generous teacher, and an extremely talented artist. My goodness, any university should consider themselves lucky to have her on staff!

    Thank you, Amy, for providing me with this opportunity to write about Beverly Ress.

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