Behind the Scenes of Successful Art Exhibit
Sep 16, 2019
This is what went into my latest exhibit. The picture catches me from behind as I sit back in the last moments of calm to just let it soak in. The blood sweat and tears were past, and this was a moment to savor before they unlocked the doors and let those waiting come in. After that it was a blur! When you are having a reception in the home of the fabulous Dali Exhibits, you naturally feel a need to kick it up a notch. What would Dali do? A simple glass of wine and a cheese cube just wouldn't do. So we had live music, guests in costume, live modeling and figure drawing and a lovely albino boa constrictor named gala, after Dali's wife and muse. And a photo booth with Daliesque props. A tiger would have been a nice touch but it wasn't in the budget. That was a reception, a real party and celebration to open the exhibit.
I was invited in December to exhibit at the Dali Expo in Monterey, and in September, nine months later we opened.The opportunity: 77 feet of wall space in a great location with a steady stream of visitors. My work is not surreal but it is far from realism and I was glad to have been chosen. immediately the planning started. This was a great opportunity and I felt it was important to respect the space with my best effort.
I started by 'mapping" each wall in 10' squares to scale. I had pieces to represent each painting I planned to show, also to scale. A little OCD you say? You might have a point! But it would be pretty easy to just hang things evenly around the room. But would it be exciting? I don't think so. At home I like to do what they call a salon hang. This entails hanging a grouping of paintings together that share a theme or perhaps a color palette. These arrangements are far from random, and are best planned (you guessed it) on graph paper or by laying them out on a large surface. I decided to have a series of such clusters on the wall, with plenty of breathing space between groupings. It is not a wasteful use of the space because within the groupings you hang things closer together than you might if the paintings were just marching done the wall single file. I was so committed to my hanging plan that when one of my collectors wanted one of the paintings I sold it with the condition it would hang in the show as planned, with a red dot showing it was sold. Red dots always look good at a show. And when I decided my plan needed another 24X36 painting for one grouping, I got out my sketch book and added another painting to the series!
Galleries will generally have their own rules, designed for consistency. It is very rare for an artist to be given the latitude to express themself though presentation as well as individual paintings. I might have had an unconventional plan, but I kept consistency in mind. I framed the work in natural wood floater frames with black accents, except the gallery wrap canvas that were shown unframed. Those had their sides painted titanium buff to complement the natural wood frames.
The time spent in preparation was small in comparison to the time spent creating the paintings but it was an important final step to prepare them for exhibit. If you will be in Montery through the end of September I hope you will visit and leave me a note in the guest book. If not, please visit MariaPoroyArt on facebook and Instagram.