Wednesday, June 09, 2010
After The Show Was Over...
or, in this case, Open Studios, down it all had to come. As any artist will tell you, what took hours to put up can be taken down again far more quickly; what took four plus hours to hang, took about three quarters of an hour to dismantle. Phew. As you can see from the image above, the gallery was left looking a little forlorn ,though my fabric is still in that little alcove space, where it was during open studios, as the gallery wanted to keep it. I'm pleased about that; it gives me the excuse to dye next week!
Today, though, I spent most of my day hanging an exhibition of a different kind. The gallery owners are away, and I'm In Charge for a few days. As there hadn't been enough time for them to hang anything, most of my day was spent hanging paintings, photographs and other works of art. It has been a truly interesting experience. When you hang an exhibition, you have a certain set of ideas in mind, usually wrapped around a theme or a title. You want to give each piece the chance to sing by itself, and that means giving it space, as well as allowing it to sing in harmony with other pieces, by making sure that there is some sort of cohesion in the hanging scheme. That is easy enough in a solo show, but not so easy as the number of artists involved increases. Hanging a general exhibition for a gallery, however, is a slightly different kettle of fish. You still want cohesion, of course, but you also want to show as much of your stock as you can. You don't usually have the luxury of a theme, and the work can be considerably different in subject matter, medium and style...yet somehow, you have to pull it all together so that the viewer is charmed, at the very least.
It's an exercise that I think every artist should have the opportunity to complete. If nothing else, it reminds you that your personal tastes need to be set aside in order to appeal to a wide audience. It makes you think about how to use the available space most effectively. It's certainly a challenge in managing colour. It took me all afternoon to organise one half of the gallery to my liking, and I still have some things to move around; tomorrow will be the second half of the space, depending on how many phone calls and customers arrive.
The variety of customers is also interesting. The Gallery does photography and framing as well as selling artworks, and I've learned a lot about framing pieces to best effect over the time I've spent there in the past year or so. That has been used to good effect today to help customers choose how to frame their photographs, paintings and other artworks. Some have very strong ideas about what they want; others have none. It was certainly a busy day today; tomorrow, I'll share some images of what I've done with the space. I'm sure it's not what the owners would have done, necessarily, but I have had fun!