Saturday, July 7, 2012

A Gallery Exhibit

Usually when Beth and I have submitted work to an art exhibit, we were limited to two pieces each and require an entry fee for each piece to be judged.  We did this for years which resulted in a few sales.  There is a difference in a commercial gallery where the owner takes selected work for sale in the gallery.  Both Beth and I were represented in the Santo Gallery in Provincetown for many summers where sales were very good.

For clarification, Beth and I are married for 27 years.  She is a professional photographer with a masters degree.  We share a large photography and painting studio as well as a matting and framing workshop in our house.  She also has a separate office with the typical office equipment and I work in the studio.

This April I had an opportunity to have an exhibit.  In speaking to a member of the staff of Atria Darien about my work they asked to see some samples. So I gave them my website address at: to show examples of my work.  I was introduced to the Chairman of the Art Committee.  He told me about their Gratia Gillespie Art Galley at their site.  I invited him to see our studio.  Which he gladly accepted.

Briefly, my work was accepted and booked at the gallery for the month of August. This was very exciting news which lasted a few days until the realization of the preparation requirements of an exhibit arrived by mail in the form of the rules, requirements and legal forms.  We had several months to prepare the exhibit so the brief panic attack vanished as we started to plan the size, quantity, content and production required. I went to the exhibition area and measured the wall space.

Our first task was selecting the pieces for our new public audience. We stayed in the portraiture and landscape categories for our first major show. Beth who was at one time the co-owner of PhotoGraphics photography school and gallery in New Canaan for many years had presented two exhibits per month.   The work shown included famous photographers who presented their work for sale and educational purposes.  So Beth had been through exhibitions many times before.

First, we walked around our studio and noted the hanging, framed work on the walls that seemed appropriate.  Then I took two days emptying my flat file cabinet and sorting the work into categories and selecting additional pieces. The unframed selection was put into a large portfolio folder. 

I reviewed the folder contents every few days and removed pieces that I did not feel belonged in this show.  Then I had some very old friends who were architects and artists with similar esthetics look through the selection and make their comments.  I made mental notes of these. And finally, I asked Beth to have a look at the folder from her point of view with her knowledge and experience with exhibits.

From these trusted comments, I made the final selection and set about listing the name of the piece, image size and medium.  From the unframed pieces I also estimated the over matte size to determine the required frame size.  Of the thirty-one selected pieces, seventeen required new mattes and frames.  Since Beth is an experienced matte cutter I reviewed this list with her.  We have a framing setup in our workshop with two matte cutters, one of which is a professional wall mounted model.  We also discussed the material of the frames.

Partial panorama of the Workshop

With a list of required frames and matte board in hand I went to our local art store.  I showed the list to the manager and asked for a discount on the bulk purchase which was granted. Even at the reduced prices the cost was just over $600.  But I rationalize that whatever sales happen at this exhibit, or not, I have a show, framed and ready to go to another gallery.

Working as a team we finished matting and framing on July 5th.  At the beginning of next month we will take all of the work, tool kit, etc. and sequence the show in the gallery before hanging it.

We will follow up the actual exhibit in a future blog.

No comments: