Which Way Should the Art Flow?

I recently helped hang a show that Barbi Dalton and I are hosting together at the Reflection Gallery in Durham. After much consideration we settled on a theme entitled, Water Flows. This is particularly apt for Barbi because she has painted many lovely scenes where water bursts over large boulders and a variety of other scenes that have water as a feature. This theme was perfect for me because I create marbled silk using a process that requires paint to float on top of a viscous surface. It is commonly referred to as “hydro printing”. The process can be finicky, but the results are most always highly decorative and pleasing in a variety of ways.

Jennifer Hahn hanging Trudy Thomson's work

Jennifer Hahn hanging Trudy Thomson’s work

The exhibit space at the Reflection Gallery is quite wide and open; the “curator” is Jennifer Hahn who is smart, experienced and delightful to work with. One enters through a corridor with glass windows along the side. It is the perfect entre for what one will experience when they enter the large central space. Figuring out how we would “greet” the visitors with our art took some careful selection and placement of our pieces on the wall. Barbi settled on a series that includes water lilies and marsh lands, while I included a one of my favorite smaller pieces that remind me of rose petals swirled through water and a diptych that I have named Shifting Sands, which is what I had intended to depict in that particular work.

Barbi Dalton hanging her work

Barbi Dalton hanging her work

Next we started to position the many pieces we had tilted back against the walls of the central area; mine were at the left, and Barbi’s were along the right.  Jennifer had some excellent tips about placing the art on the wall so that you do not have to tilt your head high but can easily view the work when it is placed at eye level for a person of average height. With Barbi’s work we were able to create a natural flow between her works and at the end of the line complete the view with a particularly dramatic work.

We spent a fair amount of time, grouping items based on color or rendition techniques. For instance, I have two styles, one that is created by manipulating acrylics using a stylus or comb, and the other that is created by working with concentric circles that create a more rock like effect. So we put one series along the area where seating arrangements allow for lively discussion and “contemplation” of the work. We positioned a second series behind the wide counter area where “bubbly” water and snacks are served when openings occur.

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