Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Gallery wall

"Empty frame" gallery arrangement

"Hello.   My name is Joey and I am a gallery wall snob."   There, I said it...  but, I'm not certain that I want to recover from this affliction. 

We've all seen rooms in which the art is hung near ceiling height.  Or, those poor 15 ft feature walls that are accessorized by a lonely 8 x 10 photo.  In this case, my prayer is, God bless them... and "forgive them for they do not know what they are doing." Luke 23.

Why is it soooo difficult for people to figure out where to hang a piece of art?  It just ain't that hard.

Ideally, art -- be it from the dime store or an auction house -- should be hung at eye level.  Most agree that the center of the piece should be 60 inches from the floor.  There are, of course, lots of exceptions.  But, it is important to know the rules before you decide to break them. 

With gallery or salon displays, most of the rules get thrown out the window.  But, while the "rules" may be more permissive and lenient, there are still some guidelines to follow that will prevent total aesthetic disaster. 

1. There should be one unifying element.  For example, keep the frame choices consistent... maybe, black or white.  Though a bit "girly" for my taste, this is an amazingly well done space.   


2.  Understand that the eye reads "collections" as an upside down letter e.  The item in the center is seen first and then the natural tendency in Western cultures is to read the collection "counter clockwise."  So, the most important item should be hung in the center with the supporting art hung around it.   And, this center element should be hung at eye level. 

Look at this collection.  What is the first thing that you see on the wall?  The black and white flowers???   What is the last thing that you see... the small round silver object at the 8 o'clock position?    It's a cool trick!

3.  The space between the items should be as similar as possible in order to help unify the look.

4.  "Hang your head high, NOT your artwork."

I HATE everything about this gallery wall.  There is NOT a cohesive element linking all of the elements.  It is hung waaaaaaaaaaay too high.  Check out the art on the right hand wall... it is at eye level.  So, why did they mount all of the gallery items at the ceiling?  And, there is just too much crap on that wall.  This wall needs a big ole...RE-do!

5.  When combining multiple items, keep the color palate simple.  In this case, the entire wall "reads" as a black and white art instillation.  Why?  The frames may be different colors, but... all of the items have white mats.  And, the art itself is all black and white.  It works! 

Room by David Jimenez

6.  Scale is important.   The idea is to use between 2/3 and 3/4 of the wall space above a piece of furniture to compliment it and not overwhelm it.  For instance..... this entry is DREADFUL.

In all honesty, I think that the rug is great... and the faux taxidermy horns are clever.  But, the scale is all screwed up.  To accomodate that much art, the table needs to be MUCH larger... the art dwarfs that little table.  I also think that it is a little odd to have a perfectly symmetrical arrangement on the table while not carrying that symmetry idea onto the wall.  It just seems off.

Don't get me wrong, I don't always practice what I preach.  The mirror above my foyer table is waaay too small.  Currently, it is just not on my "to do" list. 

On the other hand, this space rocks.... The scale is great, especially with the edition of that large floor lamp in the corner to anchor the arrangement. 

Room by Preston  Lee

7.  The pieces of art should compliment each other or help to tell a story.  Just because you have 26 pieces of art, it doesn't mean that you should hang them all together on the same wall.   What in the world were they thinking?  Just say, NO.

8.  Start with a plan.  I've certainly been guilty of putting 10 nail holes in the wall to hang one item.  But, you don't have to do that...  plan it out before you start destroying the walls. 

9.  Keep it simple...  When I first started working, art wasn't really in my budget.  Unfortunately, I had a great deal of wall space.  And, gallery collections can be a cheap way to fill up some of that space.  In my home office, I used frames made out of glass and bleached wood to display postcards from my favorite trips.  Sorry that the photo is a bit blurry, but you get the idea. 

10.  Just follow the rules and gallery walls can be a spectacular addition to your space....

Pottery Barn

1 comment:

  1. I love the walls you hate.Funny how taste is.I find the ones you approve of..well, without soul.Love your blog.