Saturday, March 30, 2013

Hanging an Exhibit of Paintings

Suzanna Hsu, a longtime friend and colleague from my art teaching days, asked me to help her mount an art exhibit of her paintings at the Half Hollow Hills Library.
 The gallery space was downstairs.  We carefully wrapped all framed paintings in blankets and placed them in our SUVs  back to back, front to front, trying not to damage anything.
Fortunately, the library was using the Walker Display, of Connecticut, system of hanging artworks.  The system consists of moldings, hanging rods, and two types of clips.  The beauty of this system is that you can slide the rods along the molding, and also slide the clips up and down on the rods, making the hanging of paintings simple.  It also eliminates putting holes in walls and  re-Spackling.

 The first paintings we hung came in a series of three square unframed pieces.  For this arrangement, we measured the clips on each rod to match, and used the large clip which notched into the back of the wooden stretcher.  We used the shorter rods because we did not want them to show below the artworks.  Each painting was placed, considering the directionality of the composition.  Some were left facing and some were right facing.
 Suzanna is adjusting the paintings on the second wall, for height. This second wall went quickly because the paintings were closely related in color and subject.
 We started with the center, and placed the largest piece in a dark frame, and worked outwards to the ends of the walls.  At first we thought that we should match the bottoms or the tops of the paintings, but later decided to split the difference and work from the center up and down.  The paintings were placed on the floor below the rods, at first, and  after shuffling them around for color flow, we put them on the rods, and adjusted them for height.
 We borrowed a ruler, ladder, and pliers from the library.  But we should have brought a 25 foot tape measure or a laser marker and level.  Anyway, we eyed the arrangement and it came out well.  Adjusting the paintings really took the two of us,  one on a ladder, and one at a distance.  Having someone stand back to look at the walls from afar, was essential.
On the third wall, Suzanna placed her favorite painting.  This was the wall which would be seen from one of the entry points.
 She steps back to see if the height is correct.
 We arrange the other paintings on that wall.
 On of the things that we tried to do was to get the colors to flow around the room in a continuous wave.  Colors in one painting were picked up in the next painting.
By moving the paintings around, we achieved this successfully.
The last wall was the most difficult because the paintings were less connected in color, and subject.  We placed them on the least prominent wall, the wall not seen from the stairs or from the entrance hallway.
 On this wall, the painting on the left continued the color scheme from the previous wall.
Suzanna Hsu
 She arranged a guest book for comments, and her calling cards.

Suzanna's exhibition is open to the public for the month of April, 2013.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Vireya Rhododendrons Exhibit at the Planting Fields Arboretum

 An amazing collection of Malaysian Rhododendrons are on display at the Planting Fields Arboretum.  They are off in a side room from the Camellias.  "This collection contains over 100 plants with approximately 20 species and 80 hybrids."
 This display has been created against one of the green house walls in a sloping berm, with large limbs supporting some of the plants which were wrapped in moss and suspended from the branches.  Others were directly planted in the prepared soil.

 The overall effect of this display is magical and wonderful, almost unbelievable.

 The blossoms are stunningly and deeply colored, and sometimes very large in their clusters.
 They almost seem too large and full for the branches that support them.

 Because they were entwined together, I hope that I recorded the correct label with each plant.  Any corrections are welcome.
 According to the printed document in this exhibit,  "there are over 300 species of Vireya  (Rhododendrons) which makes them the largest group in the genus of Rhododendron. Their flowers are very attractive and the most diverse of the genus having a large variance of size, color, and shape."
 " There is only one truly unique characteristic of Vireya that sets them apart from other Rhododendrons.  They have large cells called Idioblasts in their leaves thought to aid with water holding capacity just under the epidermis.  Other characteristics are minute scales on the surface of leaves, seeds with a tail on each end, the ovary-style junction is tapering with the pedicels arising directly from a done-like base forming an umbel."
 Here is an example of  the way in which the horticulturist hung some of the plants on large limbs.

 Here we can see how the berm was shaped and the plants occupy a side alley way in the greenhouse.  what a fantastic use of this space.
 Again according to the printed explanation, " Most Vireya are native to the Islands of Malaysia along the equator.  There are some as far north as Southeast Asia and a couple as far south as Northern Australia."
 Other plants leaning on limbs covered with moss.  Amazing.  Truly a learning experience for me.  The information from the exhibits  sheet, did not list the  author, otherwise  I would have given credit to the writer.   What a wonderful thing 
 to see such exotic  plants with their stories so close to home.  Visit this exhibit soon.  Click to enlarge photos.