Tutorial: Hanging a Show


Happy New Year Everyone! My first post of 2015 is a tutorial. This morning I received an email from an artist in North Bay asking for advice on how to hang her upcoming solo exhibition. Hanging your own show can be a daunting task, so I’ve decided to share my email reply with you. Hope this helps!

Her questions had to do with spacing between the works, consistency where size is concerned, options for variations, and whether any of it matters. While there really are few hard rules, there is a general process for hanging exhibitions that I like to follow. Here are a few tips:

  1. Content generally matters more than size in groupings, but if you have a mixed selection of significantly larger or smaller works, they could be grouped together. It’s a matter of personal preference.
  2. The spacing depends on the number of artworks versus available wall space.
  3. To begin, lay all the work on the floor leaning against the walls in the general location where you think it should be hung.
  4. Next, stand back and examine the whole show, i.e. spacing, the flow from the gallery entrance, good juxtapositions, bad juxtapositions, obvious clashes, etc., then nudge and shuffle accordingly until you are happy with it. (This part takes the longest and is a creative process in itself. It’s a lot of fun.)
  5. And finally, if the work is relatively uniform in size, start hanging it sequentially from one end of the wall to the other. If there is a large centre piece anywhere on one particular wall, then you could start with it first, then work outward to the right and left.

Every show is unique, and there is much room for creativity in how it is displayed. A little Fen Shui may even be useful in avoiding “blockage.” For example, there could be a situation where the image of a woman in profile is placed at the end of a wall with her facing into the corner. How would the feeling of the piece change if she is were looking into the room with her back to the corner instead? In another situation, what if she is not in a corner, but “facing” a particular work of art beside her? If that piece were about pollution and decay, having her “back” to it could convey a subtle but different reading that may be pertinent to the exhibition as a whole. So you see, there is much to think about.

One thing I like to point out to students (whether in the creation of art, or hanging it on a wall) is that in western culture we read text from left to right. This “habit” therefore informs how viewers move through visual imagery, although they may not be aware of it, so consider flow and “punctuation.” It is one of the cornerstones of the Elements and Principles of Design.

And finally, don’t forget to use the formula for hanging artwork at eye level. Here’a a tutorial that I created for Art on Main Downtown Artists’ Collective in 2011. So good luck, and above all, have fun!

Credits: All photos are of Lonnie Schlein’s 2012 exhibition at the WKP Kennedy Gallery. I took some quick iPhone shots while installing the show, and Liz Lott was the official photographer for the exhibition’s opening reception. Visit Lonnie Schlein’s official website.

Los Angeles Center for Digital Art

Blues for CleoI’m super excited to announce that Blues for Cleo is in Los Angeles for the 10th Annual SNAP TO GRID exhibition at LACDA, December 12, 2013 – January 4, 2014. Opening reception will be held during the Downtown Art Walk on December 12th.

I sure wish I could ditch the winter boots, coat, and mitts to wander around in California for a few days! Sigh . . .

Blues for Cleo was created on the iPhone 4 using various apps. It is a digital collage involving photography, digital finger painting, and creative image manipulation.

The Medium and the Message

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This work was created for a solo exhibition at The AOM Gallery in 2012. Each image was designed on an iPhone 4 using various apps, including Brushes, ArtStudio, and 100 Cameras in 1. Upon completion, the file was emailed to my computer for larger viewing, and then subsequently sent to a printer, matted, and framed. More than half of the works were done in bed late at night. 

Click here to view the works individually.

The Medium and the Message

Artist Statement

 The Medium:

Smartphone technology and software applications (apps) have finally turned science fiction into reality. From children’s games, to sophisticated NASA orbit mission trackers, it seems everything is now possible in one hand-held device!

Photography and digital art have traditionally required expensive equipment and complex computer programs. Now, professional quality work can be achieved on a portable phone with a five-dollar app. As an avid techie, my phone has become a small canvas on which to explore big ideas.

The Message:

Themes of transience and life changes are recurring subjects in my work. Family cycles and dynamics are fragile, mysterious, and often rife with memory and longing for what was, or for what could have been—whether the course of things was prematurely altered through loss or fractured relationships, or fully and naturally realized over time. The human condition means that none of us is immune to pondering the unfolding of that which is our life.

Nature is teeming with symbols that reflect our own experiences. Naked trees, abandoned nests, birds on a wire… all reveal a hint of meaning if we open our hearts and minds to it. They have endured as ideal subjects for communicating abstract ideas and emotions throughout history, and poets and artists continue to strive to free the silent universal voice that is ours to embrace and celebrate.

All images in this exhibition were created on an iPhone and printed on archival paper.

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