Whilst it is quite stressful putting together a collection of work for an exhibition, it is immensely rewarding to see your ideas displayed as a cohesive body of work.
The stressful aspect comes through a range of different questions which you ask yourself; How will my work be received? Will I be able to present my work in a suitable way to convey my ideas to the viewer? Do I have enough work? Will people get it? Etc…
When you begin critically selecting which paintings you wish to exhibit, particularly if you are trying to maintain a recurrent theme or approach, a strange thing happens, the art begins to take over and make suggestions and connections all of its own.
As an artist you will undoubtedly be continuously considering how paintings are grouped together and the connections they have to each other, this is commonplace in my practice as I often work on small collections, triptychs, and diptychs. Producing an exhibition however takes this one stage further, bringing these mini collections together into one whole.
Laying out the work to curate, select, organise, and present the work can initially seem daunting, but as I mentioned earlier the art begins to take over and make suggestions of it’s own. I had previously made a rough schematic drawing of groupings so I had some sort of idea of what I was dealing with; however when you start dealing with putting together these different size groupings so that they can be seen in their own right, but also as a wider body of work, you have to let the paintings have their own conversations with each other.
When you are happy with your arrangement then of course comes the practical aspect of actually hanging the work, this will take much longer than you anticipate. Lining work up so it is level, working out the space between small groups, and then the space between wider groupings, it is all incredibily time consuming.
But then when it’s all up, all adjustments and final tweeks made, then you can say…
I did it.
You can be proud of what you have achieved.