A factor we’re asked to consider for Assignment 5 is curation – how to display or present our work and what might inform our choices. We’re pointed to a number of artists for examples of how they have curated their own work as a guide. The difficulty I found when following this up was that none, if they had one person exhibitions at all, had curated the content, and most had only one piece of work on show in any given gallery. Nevertheless, the principles still apply – what order (temporal, thematic, drama, palette, size, message impact), what background (I recall Grayson Perry, when charged with curating the RA Summer Exhibition, deciding on bright colours for the walls), what rationale (the thinking behind the choice – scale over continuity, continuity over message, message over palette, or just visual impact).

Definition: the selection and care of objects to be shown in a museum or to form part of a collection of art, an exhibition,, etc.

CURATION | meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary

There seems to me to be a substantial psychological subtext to exhibitions. Watching a documentary about Sean Scully, I saw how a (to me anyway) rather nondescript abstract took on a surprising magnificence when hung on a bright white wall and viewed through the arches of two doorways. In its prime position alone on that wall, it made a statement of prominence and stature, and I wondered then how far that was borrowed from the context.

The Halo effect is a phenomenon whereby multiple positive attributes can be made to a person, company or brand on the basis of just one positive impression. This is called cognitive bias and it seems to me that placing a piece of art in a prominent position in a prestigious gallery with strong aesthetic connotations is likely to operate in the same way: this is an important gallery, these are works of art, that is a work of art. Try hanging the same piece on a display board at a craft fair and see how it is greeted there; will it carry the same impressive weight or not? My guess is it would not. Placement is critical and so is context which, in fact, is at the core of this task – how to present my own work to its best advantage.

Fortunately, at one level this task is easy. The paintings are all the same size although some are in landscape and some portrait orientation; they are paired, and they are sequential both in terms of content and in style of influence. On the other level, while there is a rather nice village hall just up the lane from here in which I could present my work if only to myself, that option is not currently* available.

I do, however, have an almost completed conservatory which has big windows and so that, before everything goes back into it, is my plan.


Above plan abandoned as the space was scheduled to be in use. Instead, a video. I am still finding my way around Filmora 10 but much less prone to scattered tracks because I know now to put the key elements in first, figure out their ideal duration, then add the fades and flourishes.

Full details on my YouTube channel

The Halo Effect. Halo effect – Wikipedia. This is a decent overview and the reference list is comprehensive and what I expect to see as a psychologist.

*For historical reference, February 2020 was when the global COVID pandemic struck the UK and many of us have been locked down for, at the time of writing, a year.

2 thoughts on “Curation

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