Faith in Humanity Restored or The show must go on !

As one show draws to a close, another begins ! The Omega Annual Printmaking show at the Cathedral in Old Portsmouth officially closed yesterday and I collected my two (unsold) big linocuts and managed to park for nothing thanks to a very kind chap ! We both parked on the left hand side of the road, facing the sea and opposite the cathedral and we were both waiting to pay for a parking ticket. As he loaded the machine with money he pointed out a space opposite and said “you don’t have to pay on the other side of the road”, so I thanked him and re-parked. I did wonder why he paid for a ticket as he crossed the road and also went into the cathedral but presumably he didn’t see the space before paying to park – or perhaps had a phobia about parking on the right hand side of the road !

Once safely parked on the other side of the road, I dashed into the cathedral, unhooked my prints from the hanging system, put them face to face and walked briskly out, trying to avoid the copious precipitation. Yes, whilst its been wet today its no longer cascading from the sky by the bath-full – although its early days ! I love British summers !

I have been curating a show of contemporary life drawing at the GASP Gallery, which belongs to ART SPACE PORTSMOUTH, where I have my studio. Over the last two days, I and my fellow curator, Julie Graves, have been measuring, leveling, drilling, screwing and hanging 39 drawings. That may not sound a lot, but to get it right, with the right image, in the right place can be difficult enough but the job isn’t simply about hanging. An exhibition has to make sense – the artworks are like words on a page, they need to be the right word for the job and they have to have the right structure or FLOW (as one of my fellow bloggers from Portugal would say). FLOW is vital and so too is BALANCE – by that I mean a balance of negative and positive. In other words the space around the artwork has to be considered and is a vital element of hanging a show. If  you go to the Summer Show at the Royal Academy of Art in London you will see rooms and rooms where paintings are hung in rows often three or four paintings stacked on top of each other – every square foot of wall space is covered and the paintings are lost – the overall effect being dizzyingly confused ! I prefer shows where the individual works are carefully selected and spaces between them add to either a sense of drama, purpose or intimacy.

The show is beginning to look great and all that’s left is to do is to add numeric labels and a price list. Most of the work is NFS (not for sale) which makes life easier. This is due to the fact that the gallery has a rather unusual perspective on commission and is charging 50% on sales. This is not the arena in which to complain – but I wonder how many other studio groups, with galleries, pay such a high commissions on sales. I have no issue paying a commercial gallery a realistic commission because they actively market your work and often fund lavish private views.

Talking of private views our (not so lavish) private view will be on Friday – so we have a couple more days to get everything shipshape.

Well that’s all folks – I must get on with making labels ! Goodnight all !

About chriswoodartist

painter, print-maker and illustrator

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