Strategies & Advice for Curating Part II

By Renatta Maniski-Luke, Curator at Why Not Art

What is curation?

When it comes to art, it is not just the artist producing the work who needs to be creative. Choosing the right piece of work for the chosen space is tough and something that takes time and careful consideration. Whether you are choosing a piece of art for your independent café, office space or the empty wall in your bedroom, knowing how to curate the space is key.

Strategies and Advice to consider

Part I explored colour of both the surrounding space and the artwork offering advice and strategies to ensure successful curation when adding art to a home or office. In this instalment we will consider shape and size, exploring alternative configurations for smaller spaces and impressive gap fillers because art has the ability to enhance and enrich even the most unlikely of spaces.

Above: Laura Fishman, Flow Tide, Acrylic on Linen.

Unusual Spaces

When it comes to finding the right piece of art for the desired location it can be surprising how well an artwork can improve those odd corners or areas of empty wall. Above a busy bookcase, going up the stairs or in the kitchen are all examples of quirky locations that work perfectly for your favorite painting or print. It is sometimes these more unusual locations that make slightly smaller work really stand out and liven up an otherwise dead space.  
Above: Chrissy Thirlaway, Boundaries, Acrylic on Canvas.
Right: Chrissy Thirlaway, Edge, Acrylic on Canvas

Size Matters

The fit and size of an artwork in the chosen location is an important curatorial and practical factor to ensure you are getting the most out of your piece. This will avoid having work obscured by furniture it being hit by a door every time you walk in the room. Making sure you have the exact dimensions of the work and/or the desired wall will prevent any issues and help you locate the perfect space.

The Perfect Space

Finding the perfect space for the painting you just fell in love with is not impossible, it just needs some thought. You simply need to find the balance between having enough surrounding wall that the piece does not look squashed or the space over crowded. Similarly, you do not want the work to look lost or too small for the wall. Consider other elements within the room such as low hanging lights, high-backed chairs or plants that can distract or obscure the artwork.  
Below: Ermina Avramidou, Tria, Acrylic Ink on Paper

Impressive Gap Fillers

Just as smaller pieces can look great in small spaces, large-scale work placed in big, open plan areas can make impressive and effective gap fillers. Though more of an obvious choice, a large painting or print can look very striking on a large wall but only if curated well. All artwork needs thought and planning to ensure it does not get lost or look too overbearing. Large work that fills a wall of a plain office or living space can add colour and energy acting as a backdrop rather than a small secular piece of work.
Below: Judith Beeby, Planet, Gloss Paint on Board

Alternative Configurations

Don’t fancy a piece that fills the entire space? A round canvas can look extremely effective in larger areas as the circular form can exist independently without corners or edges to echo the shape of the surrounding room. At WNA we are aware that not all artwork is in portrait orientation and not all rooms have vast blank walls so we know finding the perfect fit for slightly more limited spaces is necessary. Exploring various alternatives such as an elongated orientation for the end of corridors can look extremely effective. Similarly, a triptych or series of works can be an impressive addition to a hallway or the space above a desk. Successful curation aims to work the piece into the room and create a harmony between the artwork and the surroundings, thus ensuring a consistent and effective flow through the space.  
Right: Revekka Alexopoulou, Las Viñas de Empurias 3, Acrylic on Canvas 


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