Hanging a Two-Person Black and White Photography Show in a Gallery

Today we are pleased to introduce our guest contributors to ‘Ask Mike’: professional artists and American Frame customers Jean-Marie Côté and Donna Varner. As we focus this month on the gallery frame aesthetic, Jean-Marie and Donna have been kind enough to share their approach to planning, designing and hanging their work in a gallery setting.

 Visualization & Planning

We began with a clear vision of what our gallery show should look like. Just as each piece of art needs to be compositionally strong, so should the overall exhibit be. Artwork displays  should be professional and pleasant to look at.

We started planning the wall space by measuring each wall and creating a to-scale display. Microsoft Excel is an excellent tool for that; it is easy to create the wall and insert the framed images in order to have a realistic view of the display before hanging. Using this tool, we were able to arrange and rearrange the artwork on the computer until we settled upon a presentation that pleased us.

use excel as a planning tool
Above, screen shot of the Excel spreadsheet used to visualize the display (one long wall).

Standardization and simplicity are a must. We chose one frame, SP3 in matte black and a white mat for all pieces. The SP3 frame offers an elegant and sophisticated look that commands respect for the art. The framed art was either 20x26 (vertical orientation) or 20x24 (horizontal orientation). Using same frame lent unity to the exhibition. We single-hung the artwork, which created a calming horizontal line around the gallery space. We left plenty of breathing room between the pieces (9–12″)so that viewers would be invited to linger at each piece. We centered the pieces of art 59 in. from the ground for easy viewing by the majority of people.

hanging the photos at 59 inches


Installing the pieces

A great tool for lining-up all the hooks correctly on the wall is a laser level, which does not require to draw any lines on the walls, just a pencil mark for the spacing as determine by the wall length, artwork width, number of pieces and desired spacing. We have developed a simulator in Excel that does all of the math without error based on these parameters.

When installing the hanging hardware on the back of the frame, there are two important steps: 1) place all the metal frame hangers at the exact same distance from the top (1/3 of the frame length down); 2) Install the wires with the exact same tension, about 3 inches above the metal frame hangers which work well for these 24 in. wide frames. Doing this means that there will be none to minimal adjustment to align the tops of the artwork.

The Final Touch

the artists in front of a feature wall

A feature wall engages gallery visitors by catching their attention, drawing them into the exhibit and giving them a reason to look further.

How do you create a display that people can’t resist? Choose your strongest piece of artwork, one that looks as good from a distance as it does up close, with plenty of breathing space around it. Keep the feature wall simple: the show title and tagline, the names of the artists, and the medium is enough. Choose a typeface that matches the tone of the show and is easy to read. We used matte black stick-on vinyl lettering in a contemporary sans serif font. The matte black lettering echoed our matte black SP3 frames. The feature wall panel faced the gallery door and was the first thing that visitors to our exhibit saw.

Jean-Marie Côté & Donna Varner

Artists Bio

Photography has been an individual passion for both Donna and Jean-Marie for many years. When they first met , they found a mutual affinity for the creative process of making fine art images. This connection has been going strong since then as a married couple.
Their first joint exhibit in 2004 Columbus, Ohio was the beginning of an artistic journey for both of them. They have since taken workshops in Europe and the US learning and perfecting photography as an art.
In 2007 they moved to Hilton Head Island, SC to follow their muses. As a couple, as well as on an individual basis, they have exhibited their work in galleries and arts festivals in the Low Country, have been juried  into several  shows, and both continue to grow as artists and photographers.
Donna is now ingeniously blending photography and collage in a new art form unique to her, while Jean-Marie is perfecting his skills with on location and studio lighting, teaching, workshops, events and commercial photography under the name, "thefrenchguy™ photography". A sample of their work can be found on their respective web sites:
Donna Varner - www.dvgallery.us
Jean-Marie Côté - www.thefrenchguy.us

AubreyK | 4/2/2014 9:33:47 AM | 13 comments
We will say this a trick or technique of hanging a photograph. No matter I discovered this text very useful and all the time I prefer to share this sort of info with others. Preserve sharing this sort of data. Folks can take benefit of their private lives.
4/8/2015 5:35:06 AM

Frank Pito
We can say this a trick or method of hanging a photograph. Whatever I found this article very helpful and always I like to share this type of information with others. Keep sharing this type of information. People can take advantage in their personal lives.
2/27/2015 4:25:59 AM

John Smith
Amazing images you have share with us. Thanks for sharing this a wonderful blog.
12/22/2014 5:56:56 AM

American Frame
Thanks for your comment Edward!
11/11/2014 10:08:50 AM

Edward Jones
Thanks for sharing this wonderful post.
11/11/2014 1:43:06 AM

American Frame
Thank you!
9/2/2014 9:55:41 AM

Edward Jones
Wow! wonderful information that you have share. I appreciate your hard work.
9/1/2014 8:04:47 AM

I would like to thank you for posting such an useful blog.
5/27/2014 4:45:09 AM

American Frame

Hopefully you can put this information to good use!
5/20/2014 11:41:06 AM

Peter Alfred
Wow!! What a great writing, really I appreciate such kind of topics. It will be very helpful for us
4/11/2014 7:52:04 AM

American Frame

You're welcome. It was new to us as well!
4/4/2014 2:48:08 PM

Thank you for the great tip about using Excel to map out the finished diplay.
4/4/2014 2:40:26 PM

Laura Jajko
Thank you again Jean-Marie and Donna for generously sharing your expertise. This is valuable information.
4/4/2014 10:01:00 AM

About this blog

Mike Cromly
So, who’s Mike? He is the man behind the mission of getting your picture frames produced and out the door quickly, correctly, with custom frame shop quality. Once your order is placed, it is in the hands of Mike and the many people he has trained over his 35+ years with the company. A natural teacher, he loves to tinker and experiment. Of course he has a nice office, but we rarely find him there. Working in the plant and improving our processes is his passion. Outside of American Frame, Mike is an outdoorsman, avid fisherman, devoted family man and Ohio State Buckeye fan. Mike's Twitter
For more tutorials and articles, take a look at our other blogs - A Good Frame of Mind or At Your Service

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