4 things I learnt after exhibiting

On Monday, I went to take down my exhibition at the C3 Contemporary Art Space. This was my first show as an undergraduate which turned out well. Here are a few things I learnt from this whole experience.

  1. Sitting in the gallery invigilating I met fellow exhibiting artist, Alyshia Boddenberg.  I wasn’t familiar with her work before this show and I thought it was such a great opportunity to discover a new local artist, to learn about her experiences since she graduated (2008), and to network. We talked about shows we’ve seen, artists worth checking out, and about our current art practice.
  2. I learnt from C3 gallery manager, Jon Butt who commented ”Exhibiting artists need to spend time looking at their work to see how it stands in the space and if changes can be made.” This sounds familiar. Our teachers always encourage us to experiment different ways of hanging or displaying our works. Also you learn to work around things you can’t change about the space. Personally, I don’t think I could have hung the prints differently. The lighting was even so it was easy to display the works. There was an exit door, a fire hose, and a fire extinguisher on one of the walls which I thought would break the flow of my photo series. I worked around it and I don’t think it distracted too much. 
  3. The third point has to do with experimenting with materials. I face mounted all my prints on polished perspex. The idea came from one of my VCA teachers, Janina Green, who suggested I tried it. I investigated the technique and spoke with  Stephen Haley, the Graduate Coordinator of Research (MFA program) at VCA, who uses perspex mounting for his work. I found out that although the mounting is a bit expensive (but cheaper than framing), the glossy perspex finish not only accentuates sharpness and colour, but protects the print as well. On the down side, perspex can easily scratch but it can be polished back. Also, the print can peel off the perspex if it’s not mounted properly or humidity gets in. In the end, storing your work appropriately is important regardless of the media used. Colour Factory was the place to go for this kind of job. The final works turned out great and I’m happy with the choice I made. The feedback was positive.
  4. The last point has to do with the importance of documenting the show. I quickly found out that photographing a reflective surface is not ideal. I’m sure there is a way to avoid reflections. I’ll use installation shots and a few close ups, but the digital files are the most important for archival purposes.