New exhibition: Starling Studios,14-22 May

Starling Studios, 107 Havelock Road, Brighton, BN16GL

Open on the weekends of 14/15th May and 22st/22nd May from 11.00am-5.00pm

I think it’s as much with relief as it is with anticipation that I can confirm that I will definitely have work on show as part of this group exhibition! I’ll be at Starling Studios in person, all day on Saturday 14th and from 2.30-5pm on Sunday 15th so please do pop in if you’re in the vicinity!

Getting everything ready has felt a little touch and go at times so it feels good to know that everything now is mounted and either framed or wrapped in protective cellophane and it’s all labelled and priced!

The only thing that remains is to hang the exhibition, which I’ll be doing on Thursday evening!

In lieu of not sharing any new paintings this week, I thought it might be of interest to some to see my planning process for the exhibition. Some time ago I was provided with some approximate dimensions for the space that I’ve been allocated. As it’s the same venue that I exhibited in just before Christmas I had a good mental image of the space, even though it’s different to the one I occupied last time.

Armed with this information, I started to think about which of my paintings I wanted to hang, trying to take into account a variety of subject matter, sizes and what might work well together and price ranges. I personally like to hang with some kind of a system, whether that’s in a row of paintings, centred along the eyeline, or in a structured grid. This is approach is made a little simpler as all my paintings are mounted/framed to fit in three different standard sizes, 50cms x 70cms, 50xms x 40cms, and standard A4 size.

After a little bit of playing about with the available paintings, I usually start to loosely map something out on paper. Once I’m happy with that, I’ll start to pop in some measurements to make sure it’s all going to fit and be as well spaced out as I can make it. This is gradually refined until it looks something like this:

My exhibition hanging plan

This layout creates a block that is 210cms wide by 147cms deep and allows for two large paintings, 4 medium-sized paintings and ten A4 paintings. This grid approach means I can move the entire grid about within the space available. I know for instance that a door opens near the left-hand side of this hand, so I may decide to move it all over to the right-hand side to allow for more clearance.

I can appreciate that this still looks a little abstract but, once I’d managed to get everything framed, I was able to play around with the paintings and arrange them roughly into this layout to see how they worked together:

Mind where you step, there’s an exhibition on the floor!

Next up was to plan what else I can do to make the hanging of this as quick as possible! I’m a big fan of creating little ‘jigs’ to help speed things up! These jigs or templates can really help, especially when you’re hanging on your own as I usually am. Looking at the sizes of the spaces between each of the paintings on my plan, I use offcuts of card from the mounts to create little templates to match all of the spaces and different sizes of paintings:

I love a template!

When it comes to hanging my paintings, for a short temporary exhibition like this, I use Command Strips. If you’re not familiar with them, they’re like heavy-duty velcro and perform in exactly the same way. They come in different sizes depending on the size/weight of the painting you’re hanging. For larger paintings, I usually use four pairs of command strips but for smaller works, just two pairs, one on each top corner is usually sufficient.

Here’s a little demonstration:

When you want to remove the strips, you use a tab that’s provided and simply pull it down and it pulls out the adhesive like a long stretchy piece of elastic. It’s difficult to describe but it really is quite magical – not to mention a massive time saver for both hanging and dismantling without the need to fix holes in walls and redecorate!

For this hang, before I start anything, I’ll first determine where the uppermost right-hand corner will be. It’s not essential, but I’ll also mark out the top horizontal line of the hang and the right-hand vertical line, as this will help to ensure I keep everything nice and square.

So, with my Command strips placed on the back of the paintings, I’ll use some blue tack to attach one of the cardboard jigs to the wall. Once this is done, all I have to do is place the corner or corners of each painting into these pre-cut templates, double-check it’s level with a spirit level that will be balanced on top of the frame and then, just press it against the wall and hold it for 30 seconds and, hey presto, done! The guide video suggests removing the painting, pressing down on the velcro strips again, leaving it for an hour, and then reattaching the painting. I’m not one to deny that this is the correct thing to do, but when time is short, as long as the surfaces are clean, I’ve usually made do with just one 30 second press, after all of got 16 paintings to put up and not much time to do it in

Having tried to describe this process, I now can’t tell if it sounds easy or impossibly complicated! In my head, however, I know what I’m talking about! Once all the pictures are up, I use another one of the cardboard jigs, which you might be able to see the word ‘labels’ written on it. I’ll use this to make sure all of my labels are neatly arranged to one of the bottom corners of each painting. Fingers crossed, all that needs to happen then is to step back, breathe a sigh of relief and look forward to the private view.

I’ll share a picture of what it looks like next week and you’ll be able to see whether this plan comes together or not! In the meantime, here’s a little flavour of some of the framed paintings that will be on show:

I really hope that some of you may be able to visit Starling Studios over the next two weekends to see my paintings in person. For anyone that can’t, I’ll gradually be adding these paintings to the gallery pages of my website over the coming weeks.

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Thoughts on New exhibition: Starling Studios,14-22 May

6 thoughts on “New exhibition: Starling Studios,14-22 May”

        1. Oh that’s great Rob, what a treat (certainly for me, perhaps less so for you!) roll on Sunday, fingers crossed I don’t sell out before then or there won’t be anything to look at!

I'd love to hear any thoughts you have about this

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