This morning was the time for installation of my work at the Initial Point Gallery in Meridian. I knew we artists would be in charge of hanging our work with volunteers to help. This is no problem for me as that is what I have been doing at the art museum for fifteen years. The gallery is in the city hall building on the third floor, right in the center section.
There are two long walls in the space. One for my work, the other for Carlos'. Since he was already there, he chose his wall. That was fine with me. I knew I could go earlier, but wanted the previous artist to have plenty of time to get things down. However, I also knew I would get the wall that had several "obstacles" (which I had noticed when I had previously visited the space). On my wall there was one door, a fire extinguisher box, a fire light, and two thermostats (apparently randomly place along the wall). More about these later. The other wall had nothing. Since my work is fabric and I did have more variable sizes, it was more accommodating for those things than Carlos' work would be.
There were two ladies there to help me and the guy who was in charge of the space. I'm afraid I bored the ladies to death because I took my time and really didn't need any help. I took out all my pieces and started just laying them out on the floor. I had no preconceived notion of a layout because I was just going to see what worked when I was in the space. I could tell a couple of pieces weren't going to work with the others right away and set those aside. I started arranging, trying to spread out like colors and vary sizes and directions.
There are a lot of things that are considered when hanging a show that the general public probably doesn't notice. And they shouldn't. If they do, then that means we didn't do our job well. That's my training and it's what I do, so I went to work. After I had an arrangement I was happy with, then I started figuring out spacing between the pieces. I think the ladies wanted me to put more pieces in the show, but I thought it was already going to be more crowded than necessary. The artwork does need to have space to breathe. When I was previewing the space, the artworks that were hung, at that time, were so close together that I could not concentrate on one piece because the next one was distracting me. More is not always better.
Once I had the spacing, I started measuring where I wanted the hangers to be for each piece. They had wires that were hanging down from a track and hangers that moved up and down the wires. I had a tape measure out and paper and pencil ready to do that math, calculating the exact location of the hanger based on the center height. I was told by the helpers that we could eyeball it or adjust as we go along. I told them I was a perfectionist. Then I continued to work that way placing tape and marking points where they could align the hangers. Yes, it was a much slower process. I think Carlos had his stuff up in an hour. I did not.
They hung as I continued to mark and yes, they were right about adjusting afterward. In the end, I saw that I didn't have to be so precise because the hangers and wires were easily moved. But I still would have done it the same way so I had a starting point. We got them all up and the helpers left around 11 a.m. I stayed to do adjusting, put labels up and hang my artist information. I eventually finished around 12 noon, which was the time I was suppose to be finished by.
I am very happy to have this opportunity to show my work here. But I can't say I'm 100% happy with the layout. Part of that is because of the "obstacles". I had to change the layout a little from what I wanted because when we tried to hang one piece the rod would have been right across the fire light and that would not work. So I put a smaller piece there so it could hang lower. The light is right above that piece, but what can you do. Two pieces are covering the two thermostats and they stick out from the wall farther than the hanging wires. The fabric is already "wobbly" because of the hanging device, so the pieces are not flat against the wall, but the thermostats make it even more so. Once again, what can you do.