Anatomy of an Exhibition - part 7
Settling Into the Commitment
Now that you have been confirmed for your exhibition dates, depending on the number of confirmations that you did receive, you must be assured of your timetable matching the gallery’s dates. You need to know that you have sufficient time to complete the number of works and any preparation work to be done as well. This prep work could be the framing of the works for presentation or written statements with presentation or even posters or calendars if that has been left in your hands. You must check with your framing store to be assured that they can handle the timetable. You may be required to be present at the opening and asked to say a few words on behalf of your exhibit. You may also be requested to put on a presentation or slideshow during the exhibit or take questions on your work and work habits. Include any time necessary in to your exhibition work schedule for these events. The gallery owners will inform you during your meeting about these possible events. If your show has drawn an exceptional audience this request could come up during the showing.
You may have had to choose which dates for which galleries if you have been confirmed in more than one site. Some galleries will insist on being the first to show the exhibit, so your choices may have been determined. Also consider the packing up of your works at the end of one gallery show and delivering to another. The galleries will inform you of the date you must deliver your work and this may be up to a week before the show opens to the public. In other words get all the facts and requirements and assure you can deliver your artwork with transportation included.
Most galleries have staff to install the exhibit and take it down as well. You will have to package your work in a sequential manner well marked for the staff to unpack. You will need to leave a description of the order of the works to be shown and any special requirements that you have for your presentation such as lighting or descriptive material and a list of works, dimensions, and sale price for insurance needs. Make sure that your packing is sufficient and safe for your work and can be reused in same manner when the gallery staff is packing it up for collection.
Now that all is settled as to where and when, I usually break up my work into groups and place a finish time to each group. That way if I am falling behind, I can move to another painting subject in that group that will be done in a quicker manner, giving me back the time I had lost. The smaller groups would hold the more complicated art works, in my mind, and the larger groups the easier to complete. This is something you should be able to visualize if you have done the initial work up on each painting during conception of the idea. I may have to work around the pieces requiring models to their schedule making another group of specific works. Checking on your timing often during the process will inform you about where you are and if you will meet your ETA on your timetable.
I will at times during the process line up my finished and partial completed works to see if the style, colour, and placement is working well. It will also make me feel more secure knowing all those lined up are done or almost done and I am well into the process. It will also excite me to know what I have accomplished so far, but will also tell me if a piece isn’t working with the idea or the other pieces. I may then decide to redo, remove, or wait until others are finished and compare. It could fit in another few pieces in the series.
As to where I am presently in this process, I feel I am still beginning the works. One is complete, another almost complete, and two with the main background finished and waiting for the pop effect of the main subject. One model is finished her part in the painting, and another model is ready in the wings to be painted and placed on the canvass. With only four pieces almost completed, I am ready to start two more canvasses for the show. I will be interrupted though for a week with a commitment of babysitting being undertaken. Fortunately I can turn this event into a positive for my show. With imagination, I can determined where I can use this child in my works and have him model for me. I can use some of this time to draw and loosen up with the art, taking the pressure off.
I did get three drawings, one pen & ink, and a painting not in this exhibit completed from using my last model. I already have a charcoal and a drawing from the new model. These come out of drawing the model in different positions before I place them on the canvass. It gives me resource material for other paintings. I have started two more paintings alongside the exhibit work. Because it will take eighteen months before I show the work, I like to include a few paintings to show on the website or social network groups. This way I am not forgotten about and again relieves pressure from the proposed works. Make sure you have room in the time table for this deviation from your completed exhibition material.