the art of hanging art

Just finished hanging an entire gallery on my own for the first time. Part of the deal here at Printmakers is that each member is responsible for completely rehanging the space on a two-month rotating basis. Not only does it keep the space fresh, it allows us to expose stored art that might otherwise be forgotten.

I had done a little online research beforehand, looking for some basic principles to guide me. I didn't find much, so yesterday, when I walked into the studio, I was feeling a mixture of curiosity and overwhelm - where to start and how, exactly, would this go? Nothing like jumping into the water with both feet!

With little other than instinct to guide me, I just started looking through bins and bins of art. It was interesting to step back and observe myself being drawn to certain pieces, and not to others. In my own work, I always need an inspiration - a starting point. It happened here, as well. I hadn't intended for this to be the case, but there was one print that caught my eye as a perfect companion for one of my artist books. Bam, I was off to the races and the ideas just flowed.

I also stuck with what I know at this point: color. I'm not an experienced printmaker or trained artist, so I didn't have a lot of "rules" or technique to show me the way. I do know color and "energy" and pacing, all of which seemed to flow, as I moved pieces around, experimented with surprising combinations and just got my hands on the art.

At the end of two days, I'm pretty happy with the results. I might look back on this some time from now with a more experienced eye and see things I'd do differently, but that's okay. Four of my fellow artists stopped in at various times today and were very encouraging, happy to frame unseen work that I'd dragged out of bins to hang.

What I'm most excited about is that I got to know more about each artist's work, taking time to really look at it. There are so many prints here, that it's easy to flip through them and miss a lot. I loved learning more about the ideas behind several pieces, as I interacted with the artists that were here today.