Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Hanging Art: The "butterfly"

It has been fun looking back through photos to prepare these posts, and to rediscover some spaces I'd forgotten about!

With the "butterfly" (not a real thing: totally coined by me) I feel like I'm sort of jumping right to the advanced level of art hanging, but honestly, it's the easiest post for me to write next in this series, so there you go.  Sometimes the space dictates the art, but other times you start from an existing collection of works.  While I love a salon-style gallery wall, a collection of similar items in similar frames often begs for some order.  The "butterfly" is basically a balanced, even symmetrical arrangement that wings out from a centerline.

My brother collects baseball ephemera and signed vintage photos.  In his old house, they were largely in an office, in smaller groupings split across several walls.  In his new finished basement, there was a large wall where we could display most of them together.



Because we had even numbers of frames of each size, symmetry was called for.  We tested some options, but ultimately this "butterfly" configuration gave the most movement, while remaining orderly.  (I realize as I type this that it's a bit like having a center justification in text.)


In my parents' hallway, we had a collection of black and white drawings in gold frames.  There were some pairs and some that were the same basic size and orientation.  So, same deal.  (You can read an old post on this one, here!)



In a clients house, we wanted to use some of her kids art over the console in the living room.  She also had vintage posters, so we took advantage of the different pairs.  By hanging them the same (button trees in white, ad posters in black), we got cohesion.



All of those examples were a matter of making a collection shine.

These next two examples took a collection and put them to use around an existing element in the room.

In the former office of Public Art St Paul, I had an uneven number of project photos to hang, and some awkward internal windows to work around.  This arrangement reads less like a butterfly but has the same principle of a mirrored layout and is a bit off-grid.



At this bedroom in my parents' house we had a grouping of six framed prints and we wanted to fill the space above the bed.


The idea was the go with the shape of the headboard.  By staggering the placement of the two sets of horizontals, we got a wider overall arrangement AND we were able to hang everything close to the bed.  (If those side pairs were stacked, they would have been hung higher to avoid overlapping the wood headboard.)

I took a similar tack in this bedroom.  Originally we planned on more of a loose gallery wall, but when we decided to repurpose this bed from the attic, the space between the top of the headboard and the picture rail was pretty short!  Stacking pairs over the dressers fills in the negative space created by the height difference in furniture.  The single piece over the headboard is in related subject matter (they are all prints related to swimming), so the 5 pieces feel like one connected arrangement.



(You can read about this project here and here and see the final reveal here).  But if you look at just one side, you get the Stacked Pair!

Is it weird that I think so much/ have so much to say about hanging art?

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