Buying Art For Your Home Workspace – 6 ideas


Artwork: Mercury, 1995, Oil on Board, 44.5cm x 61cm by Dennis Bowen courtesy of Gallery Different

Through lockdown many of us have either had to set up a home office for the first time or adapt and improve on an existing workspace to make it more conducive for current needs. In doing so, you probably have made sure your desk space has all the essentials but have you given any thought to what’s hanging on your walls?

Your view from your desk that you will gaze upon from time to time throughout the day can be extremely important for your daily motivation, inspiration and overall well-being and so it’s worth giving this aspect of your workspace serious thought too.

Not everyone has a window with a glorious view, but art can become your window onto a very pleasing vista or any image that speaks to your imagination and makes you feel good and happy.

Why not make this small change by choosing to hang some art which can dramatically change the look and feel of your workspace?

Here are 6 ideas for buying and installing art for your new home office:

  1. Start by choosing art you love. It needs to appeal to you and it is important that you want to come into your workspace, that you are excited to sit down at your desk because you love coming into your home office and the art you have selected for your walls really should reinforce these strong positive vibes.
  2. Use the art to create the appropriate ambience or mood for your working environment that you require depending on the nature of your work and the emotions and feelings you want to experience – it maybe that you require a very peaceful or meditative space for calm focussed work or maybe that you require a more inspiring, dynamic or energetic vibe or it maybe needs to feel uplifting and joyous – art can transform the way you feel and help you get into the right mindset.
  3. If you do lots of video conferencing and zoom calls with clients and colleagues it may also be important to consider who else might see the artwork and whether what you’ve displayed is appropriate for your clients or colleague to see too?
  4. You can use art to say something about your values, ethos, interests, passions and beliefs or even your brand and your company’s values. Choose artworks that have resonance and meaning for you or for your brand.
  5. Select art and hang the art appropriately to the space. Give the artwork room to breathe and therefore there should be good space around the artwork (negative space) so that it fits perfectly on the wall and does not dominate or overwhelm the space. Equally don’t place something that is very small into a large space either.
  6. Hanging art appropriately will also require some consideration being given to environmental conditions so that your artwork does not get damaged such as – light, temperature, humidity and weight bearing on the wall. For more detailed tips on this see our website for an article on The Art Of Hanging Art for – 5 rules on hanging art.)

If you would like any help at all in choosing artwork for your home office please contact us here for a free consultation.

If you would like to see some artworks to get a sense of what might work for you see here our latest exhibition “Getting Closer to Nature” on Artsy.  

To see more tips about how to select art that you love, meets your budget and should bring long lasting enjoyment please also visit our Facebook page www.facebook.com/vedocorporateart/.

Denis Bowen; an Artist, Patron and Visionary

This article is written by Lauren Slater, Gallery Assistant at Gallery Different and was originally published on LinkedIn on April 1st 2020. Gallery Different is our JV partner in VEDO Corporate Art Consultancy.

In 2012 Gallery Different began to work alongside the Denis Bowen estate, with the then-executor and nephew of the late artist, Nick Bowen. However, upon Nick’s untimely death in 2018, Gallery Different took sole responsibility for the estate and has since, on first-hand experience, borne witness to the artistic genius of a revolutionary post-war British artist. This blog draws upon a number of resources from Bowen’s personal archive, obituaries of the artist, and an interview with a close peer and artist, Derek Culley.

Born in Kimberley, South Africa in 1921, and orphaned at a young age, Denis Bowen’s life was turbulent from the onset. After the loss of his parents, Bowen emigrated to the United Kingdom where he was to live with his aunt, in Huddersfield. In 1936, Bowen enrolled at Huddersfield School of Art. After graduating, Bowen was due to undertake a position at the Royal College of Art. However, with the outbreak of World War II where he served as Chief Naval Radar Operator, his admission was postponed until the war ended.

During his lifetime, Bowen was known for his substantial portfolio of works, curating, directing and his contribution to artistic education. Between the 1940s and 1980s, Bowen undertook various teaching roles both nationally and internationally. These included Kingston Institute of Art, Hammersmith School of Arts, Birmingham School of Art, Central School of Art and Design and the Royal College of Art, and the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. It was during his time in Canada that Bowen discovered a number of Canadian artists such as William J.B. Newcombe.

Regarded as a patron, Bowen founded the New Vision Group in 1951, with other students from the Hammersmith School of Art. The group’s principal aim was to draw in young, unknown and international talent that mainly focused on non-figurative art. In 1956, Denis Bowen would open and co-direct, the New Vision Centre Gallery, with Halima Nalecz, and Frank Avray Wilson. In its ten year period (1956 – 1966), the New Vision Centre Gallery exhibited artists such as Gordon House, Ian Stephenson, and Aubrey Williams. All of whom went on to achieve global recognition. The gallery exhibited an expansive array of artists and artworks from 29 different countries and 220 artists (58% of which came from abroad). Of the exhibitions that took place, 90% were solo shows.

Advocacy for international artists, including those from the British Commonwealth, was nearly unheard of with little to no recognition in the British art scene. There still continued to be much hostility to black and Asian artists. Yet the New Vision Centre Gallery promoted and supported them with the same fervour it held towards British artists. The gallery also hosted the first exhibitions for European groups such as the Italian group Forma-1, and German Group Zero.

Bowen’s patronage status extended to Derek Culley, whom Culley said he had ‘the great fortune’ of meeting in the mid 80’s, when Denis would become his mentor. Culley recalls, ‘He introduced me to the London art world and the art of navigating its peculiarities and complexities. When it came to the contemporary and modern art world, Bowen was a Master Painter with an encyclopaedic knowledge of art and the art world. Bowen taught me a new way to look/ question/ approach and appreciate art; from being both a viewer and practitioner.’

Bowen’s consciousness for inclusivity is demonstrated by his approach to fellow artist Culley. Whilst hosting an exhibition of Contemporary Celtic Region artists during a Celtic festival, Bowen proposed enlarging the model and premise to include all 7 Celtic Regions in Europe. From this Celtic Vision was born, headed by Denis, Derek and Scottish artist John Bellany. The primary aim; to exhibit contemporary visual arts from these regions – politics aside.

Bowen’s encounters and established friendships with fellow artists allowed him to become a vehement collector of art. His collection comprised of works by highly regarded artists such as Sir Terry Frost, Alan Davie, Albert Irvin, Victor Pasmore, Alan Reynolds and William Gear. Bowen’s collection stayed true to the international ethos of the New Vision Centre Gallery in which his collection expanded internationally to include works by Aubrey Williams, Arpana Caur, F.N. Souza, and Zao Wou-Ki, to name a few. The array of works, some of which are oils, etchings and prints, will be exhibited in a variety of upcoming exhibitions at Gallery Different, to again pay homage to the work and dedication of national and international post-war abstract artists. These works will also be available to private collectors as the gallery moves forward with the Bowen Archive.

Whilst continuing to play a pivotal part in art education, Bowen was challenging and shaping post-war artistic trends. Bowen’s style was continually evolving throughout his practice. From the 1950s to mid 60s, Bowen was one of the first artists in Britain to experiment with Tachism. During this time, each painting would be started and completed within one sitting to maintain the importance of the physical process behind painting, suggesting that to return to a painting was to destroy its integrity. Post Tachism, Bowen’s painterly style was dominated by psychedelia from 1969-1980, and later ended with a relentless obsession with space discovery and the unattainable.

Denis Bowen, Magma 2 (1988)
Oil on Canvas 217 x 183 cm
(c) Gallery Different

The most enthralling aspect of Bowen’s work was his capacity to lure the audience with stark contrasts of technique and colour. In many works, Bowen employs simple materials and found objects, including door panels and kitchen cupboards. These created a juxtaposition between the aesthetically enticing and incomprehensible planetary landscapes he would depict, and the preloved furniture of his own home and studio. Bowen’s chosen subjects including erupting lava and planetary landscapes, are something we can only imagine yet their depiction is so expressive we almost feel we are within the painting. This is demonstrated by Bowen’s Magma (2) (1988). Despite being fastened onto a stretcher, the work is without a frame, giving it a sense of limitlessness. The vibrant indigo hue, mixed with splashes of electric blue are immediately enticing. Yet the layering of the metallic, and sporadic gold draw you in further, heightening the sense of something magical and unworldly. In contrast, the deep black at the bottom seems dark and sinister, rendering the subject of the work somewhat incomprehensible. Although Bowen worked the paintbrush and canvas, he ultimately left the paint to fuse into the background and other lines, allowing for a seemingly free and unrestricted result. This spontaneity remained at the forefront of Bowen’s work and life, and is one of the paramount reasons why his work continues to be regarded very highly, with institutions such as The Tate holding his work within their collection.

Like the advent of space technology, Bowen’s paintings of space make it more accessible and conceivable to the human imagination. The beauty of each individual canvas allows the viewer to feel deep and intense emotions, and as Vince Rea stated the ‘paintings give the audience new and emotive experiences of colour and atmospheres indicative of observable changes in space from vast distances of eerie atmospheric stillnesses to lavaic eruptions of energy and matter.’ His complex choice of colours, which often have subtle alterations depending on their lighting, are demonstrable of the ever-changing landscapes of outer space and the continuous fascination one can find with it.  

At the heart of everything Denis Bowen stood for, was the influence from which the title of the New Vision Centre Gallery derived. Gyorgy Kepes’ Language of Vision (Chicago, 1944) drew upon the universality and power of visual language and the necessity for new imagery that reflected recent technological and physical developments. Ultimately, this ethos ran through the practice of the gallery where it beckoned artists from across the globe who were producing art that was in tune with the vast societal, economical and political changes that were happening post-war. People were again eager to reflect the severity of World War II and work towards reconstructing society. In this way, the coming together of multi-racial groups in London saw it become the cultural hub for social change, arguably headed by Denis Bowen, and the New Vision Group.

Denis Bowen, Volcano and Electric Blue Circle, (1988)
Oil and spray paint on canvas, 123 x 107 cm
(c) Gallery Different

Denis Bowen’s visionary status is one that cannot be forgotten. Even whilst he was faced with the unpopular opinions regarding his works, Bowen continued to produce works that were rebellious, risqué and independent. Derek Culley remembers, ‘Not one for “Art Bollox” Denis knew his art/its history, and his contemporaries.’ His relentless dedication to stay true to his practice ultimately deemed him the ‘unflagging champion on non-figurative art’. As The Guardian drew upon, British art continues to underplay the 50s and 60s abstraction, and the contribution of the New Vision Centre Gallery (most importantly Denis Bowen) in shaping the modern art movement, and enabling significant trends and greater freedoms. Bowen was wholeheartedly devoted to his work and teaching, and his unique role in the history of modern/contemporary art must be remembered with great admiration. Well remembered and regarded, Culley said ‘Denis was a man for all seasons’, being one of many to bear testimony to the great importance and amiability of Denis Bowen.

Gallery Different will be hosting a variety of exhibitions of Denis Bowen’s collection, along with a large-scale retrospective of Denis Bowen’s work in 2021. VEDO will be posting further information about this extraordinary artist and the Gallery’s events for this artist. If you are interested in any of the above information, including buying Bowen paintings and would like further information please contact us.

The Art of Hanging Art – 5 Rules

(c) Artist Christopher Hauser

Our VEDO art consultant Malcolm Taylor gives 5 Rules for Hanging Art in his article “The Art of Hanging Art”. Malcolm was a former art gallery owner and is an avid art collector. He is a director of Vitruvian Arts Ltd. Wearing his professional hat he is a company consultant for a prestigious Barristers’ chambers, was managing partner at a leading law firm and practiced as a commercial solicitor for over 30 years.  

The Art of Hanging Art – 5 Rules

One of the consequences of home working and multiple video conference calls, is that we are getting a glimpse of the home environments of many more people than normal.  This ranges from work colleagues and those we do business with, to celebrities and politicians being interviewed on tv.  And the interesting thing is to see how much (or rather how little) art there seemingly is in these homes and often how badly hung much of it is! 

This raises questions of what and where (and how) to hang art.  There are of course no absolute rules – it is after all your house and your pictures – but some themes seem to have general applicability.

Here are 5 Rules for Hanging Art:

  1. Environmental conditions – to avoid damaging the artwork?

Artist Denis Bowen, (c) Gallery Different

The first and obvious factor is to ensure that the art is not damaged by hanging it in the “wrong“ place. Bright sunlight, humidity, damp or direct heat (eg hanging over a radiator) can all damage art and the more valuable the work, the more critical it is that care is taken to ensure the environmental conditions are appropriate. Weight -bearing is very important too, try to ensure your artwork is securely affixed to the wall using the right hardware and technique, as an artwork can also become damaged if it can be easily knocked off or is improperly secured by not using strong enough nails for example.

2. Aesthetics – avoid clashing backgrounds

(c) Artist Gwen Joy Royston

Aesthetics come next.  Video calls are showing examples of artworks with bold and vibrant colours hanging on walls of equal but clashing backgrounds, or exuberant and dynamic imagery against a “busy” and highly patterned wall.  The effect is to detract from the artwork and can cause offence to the eye.  Conversely, a neutral and pale image against an equally bland background can simply be lost or just create a cold and uninspired reaction. 

Often contrasts work best –  a colourful and vivacious picture on a plain and pale wall can heighten the impact of the artwork and give it greater prominence in the room – and equally a simple and understated image with muted tones might sit effectively against a more imposing backdrop.

3. Placement

(c) Artist Mick Dean

The placement of art is very important.  There can be nothing worse (other than no art at all!) than a tiny picture, hung alone on a vast expanse of wall, or conversely too large a piece shoe-horned into a space that is clearly too small for it. 

Pictures hung too high or too low on the wall will look out of place. Symmetry can be a good guide – the artwork placed centrally to its space, whether a wall, in an alcove, over a fireplace or whatever.  This need not be an absolute rule and on a big space a picture hung over a particular feature – perhaps a bureau or pair of chairs, can look perfectly appropriate even if not central to the whole wall. 

4. Groups

(c) Artist Richard Wincer

Pictures hung in pairs or groups can look very effective.  Perhaps a pair of similarly sized pictures together, maybe a run of several along a long wall or corridor, or a series of 3 or more in a group. 

Care must be taken to ensure the groupings are properly and evenly placed – with not too much or too little space in between.  If a group of three it is often best to have two equally sized (and smaller) paintings on the top, with the third underneath and in the middle.

5. Overall design scheme

(c) Artist Jacques Godard

Finally there is the issue of how an artwork fits into the overall design and theme of the room.  A classically furnished room can be complimented by equally classically themed art and conversely with a contemporary design and modern art. However, that is by no means to say that a contemporary and modern (maybe abstract) image might not fit perfectly into a “traditional” environment.

Conversely a more formal and conventional picture, perhaps in an elaborate gilt frame, can look spectacular in a modern and contemporary setting.

So hanging art needs thought and care – practical and aesthetic. There are a few basic “rules”, but like all rules, some can be manipulated to allow creativity and inspiration.  Hanging art is, indeed, an art in itself.

The six artworks featured in this article are currently on display in the Getting Closer to Nature Exhibition. To read more about the exhibition please see here http://www.vedocorporateart.com/getting-closer-to-nature-vedos-landscape-exhibition-at-the-36-group-2/. All of the artworks are available to buy and can be purchased through our Artsy page https://www.artsy.net/show/gallery-different-getting-closer-to-nature#!.

Ten Ways In Which Art Can Enhance Your Business

(c) Fine Art Photographer Christopher Hauser

Business owners will know only too well of the many calls on their time and resources.  There is a constant pressure to satisfy the multiple needs of every thriving business – large or small – be it the need to provide an appropriate environment and facilities for the work force and to motivate and encourage valued employees, to attract new business and once won, maintain those connections, to create and sustain an innovative brand and enhance market awareness, or simply to find suitable and promising investment opportunities.

Art can help answer many of these needs in an exciting, inspiring, enjoyable and surprisingly cost effective manner.  In this article we look at 10 ways in which art can contribute to the broader commercial activities and status of any business.  

The Work Place Environment

Starting with the basics, the immediate work place should be a pleasant and interesting environment.  There can be nothing more depressing than drab, uninspiring, cold and empty rooms and employees will react positively and with greater enthusiasm if they have around them pieces of stimulating and exhilarating art.  

Mood, motivation and output can be encouraged and increased by providing an uplifting environment and carefully selected pieces of art can play a key part in facilitating that.   

Art can also be used to support internal “identities”, such as individual teams or departments each having a slightly different visual distinctiveness, albeit as part of an overall brand cohesiveness, which can encourage team loyalty and positive competitiveness and genres of art can create those subtle “personality” traits.

Initial Impact

Just as important as employee wellbeing and motivation, is the initial impact on customers or clients when first visiting a business’ premises.  First impressions are highly significant and there can be nothing more off-putting than being confronted with a drab, depressing and soulless office or reception space.  That impression will carry thought to the business itself and its people. 

For very little cost or effort a business can use interesting art to make a dramatic, positive and uplifting impression, which will help it portray a dynamic, welcoming, warm and friendly attitude and outlook – a vital first step in establishing a new business relationship.

Image and Brand Alignment      

Art can be used as an integral part of a business’ overall brand and image and can help establish an identity, create an impression and assist aligning the brand with the overall strategy of the entity. 

Whether that “image” be one of quiet professionalism and discretion, tradition, pedigree and continuity or modernity, brashness and market disruption, there are examples of art that can cover all bases. 

A long established, professional services firm, looking to create an impression of gravitas and with a client base seeking discrete and private advice can look to certain genres of art to reflect that market; very different to those relevant to a hi tech, cutting edge, disrupter business seeking a younger, more edgy and vibrant clientele.

The almost limitless forms and styles of art can cater for all these needs and across all market sectors.   

Specific Marketing Activities

(c) Sculptor Simon Gudgeon – artwork displayed at Henley Festival by Gallery Different

Art can be utilised for one-off projects and specific marketing activities.  Increasingly, property developers are using art to showcase new developments, whether that be on a temporary basis (to “dress” the development), or permanently – creating, in effect, a mini art gallery to add prestige and kudos to high value projects. 

Other examples might be the use of art in a particular advertising campaign or at a trade fair or product launch or staging an exhibition at your office and inviting clients in to meet the artists and, of course, in doing so network with your team.

Client Experience

For some businesses and entities, it will be important to offer a pleasing environment to customers and clients as an integral part of the services offered and in a manner that is suitable and conducive to their activities. 

Examples here might be in the health sector where waiting rooms can be cheered up and treatment areas made more calming or uplifting by the addition of appropriate artworks, to help a patient have a more positive experience. Too often these areas are left looking drab and depressing – adding to the already low mood of the patients – and a sympathetic selection of art can simply and effectively help raise spirits. 

Similarly in the hotel sector, whilst the first impressions are critically important (see 2 above) with statement pieces of art in the reception area, this needs to be carried through to the bedrooms and other public spaces, again to ensure a positive vibe for the overall guest experience.  

Differing but analogous examples can be found in a range of businesses where customers or clients are actively involved with, and spend time in the premises of, the entity.

CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility)

Most businesses now seek to offer a programme of corporate social responsibility (“CSR”).  This is in tune with a growing view that businesses should work with and for their local communities and offer back something to help the less advantaged elements in society. 

This is a laudable outlook and is generally popular with work forces, investors and business partners – indeed many entities especially (but not wholly) in the public sector, require business partners and suppliers to have a demonstrable CSR programme. 

The wider art community can provide opportunities for CSR activities, whether by companies supporting and encouraging emerging artists and art students (for example by exhibiting their work or by advising on setting up and running their individual businesses, providing training on specific commercial matters, running networking forums or a plethora of other activities) or contributing to or donating art for public spaces or financing social enterprises and projects involving art and artists for the benefit of the wider community.

Connections

The art world is, in reality, a large and multifaceted community, covering not just the artists themselves, but galleries, dealers, auction houses, conservators, banks and financial institutions, academics, educational establishments and students, publishers, shippers, insurers, security, legal and tax advisors and whole host of other concerns. 

Even an initial and tentative involvement with this market could lead to connections and networking opportunities that may go far beyond the art itself and lead to wider business possibilities. 

Diversity

Workforces are becoming increasingly diverse and successful employers realise the need to create and promote an inclusive working environment. 

Art can help do this and unify people from differing cultures, ethnicities, genders and religion.  It can highlight areas of tension and disagreement and then help overcome differences and foster tolerance, respect and cohesion.  This will help attract and maintain the best employees.

Legacy

Artist Denis Bowen (c) Gallery Different

Art can be a very sound financial investment.  Over many years the market for art has generally increased and carefully selected works of art have appreciated at an exponential rate. 

Many corporate collections of art have been based on the acquisition of art from emerging artists – artists with talent and potential who are spotted at the beginning of their careers and whose work can be acquired at reasonable cost, but then appreciates rapidly as the artists’ reputations grow. 

Some businesses stage exhibitions of art by students or other emerging artists and have a policy of acquiring one piece of work from each show.  As the years go by the collection grows and the values increase, leading to a substantial investment portfolio.

Flexibility and fun!

There are numerous ways that art can be “acquired” and this of itself can lead to flexibility in the business and maximise the benefits listed above. 

Art can be purchased outright or often on more flexible terms through galleries, or it can be financed by various loan and lease models. 

But art can also simply be exhibited and used for shorter term projects.  Overall this can lead to creative arrangements for the acquisition and display of art, long or short term, thus enabling a vibrant stimulating and potentially continually changing display of art. 

Whilst this can help a business on many levels, it should never be forgotten that it also provides, in its purest form, fun and enjoyment for all the stakeholders involved in your business.

As will be seen, art can fulfil a number of roles in any business.  However, the art should be selected carefully and in the context of the specific requirements and purposes of each business – which will vary considerably. 

VEDO Corporate Art can assist in this respect and offers specialist expertise in selecting, supplying and hanging art in and for a range of sectors, businesses and environments. We have a specific process to help make choosing art that is relevant to your business and has resonance with your brand straight forward and enjoyable.

To find out more about how we can help you install exhibitions, commission artworks and build a corporate art collection, please see our services page on our website and contact us for a free consultation.

The John Buck Collection

Our VEDO team were recently tasked with curating and installing a private collection of artworks generously loaned to a prestigious Barristers’ Chambers’ in Gray’s Inn, London that was to sit alongside a contemporary art exhibition, called “Getting Closer to Nature”, which we curated and installed.

The collector John Buck, had loaned 40 prints and original artworks.

John is a barrister at Tanfield Chambers and he began collecting art over 15 years ago and has amassed a formidable collection on display across three locations in London.

Many of the artists in the John Buck collection are by the great British abstract artists of the 21st century, artists such as Sandra Blow, Sir Terry Frost, Albert Irvin, Victor Pasmore, John Hoyland and Sir Howard Hodgkin.

The collection loaned to the Chambers however is a mixture of figurative work and abstract work, by British contemporary artists such as great painter and print maker Eileen Cooper OBE RA and Suffolk born lino cut artist Dale Devereux-Barker, to works by some very interesting international European artists such as wood cut prints by German artist Heidi Konig, some wonderful expressive works on paper by exceptional Catalan artist Agusti Puig and a large number of works by the leading late Italian abstract artist Piero Dorazio.

We have displayed 7 works by Dorazio from the 1960s until the 1990s across an entire floor in the building. Dorazio’s highly distinctive style of colourful twisted ribbons and crosshatched grids endured throughout his career and his work heavily relates to colour field painting.

Dorazio believed that “abstract art could change the world…” and so it is perhaps unsurprising that this artist caught the eye of Buck. 

 

Artist Piero Dorazio (c) John Buck Collection

We have found there are many cross parallels and interesting stories to be told about the artists in the contemporary landscape exhibition “Getting Closer to Nature” and within John Buck’s collection, many of whom who were either taught by the leading abstract artists in the post war period or had personal friendships with them.

Artist Robin Richmond (c) The John Buck Collection

To our joy, we also found amongst John’s collection an oil painting by contemporary artist Robin Richmond (an artist represented by the Gallery).

Richmond studied at Chelsea School of Art in the 1970s and her teachers included Howard Hodgkin and John Hoyland. The painting is an early figurative landscape scene of the great churches and landmarks in Florence, which is quite unlike her abstract paintings that dominate her artistic oeuvre.

This painting to my mind sums up the Buck collection, strong colour and bold shapes or architectural forms. These themes clearly stand out in the abstracted works he has collected over the years and we worked with this aesthetic to create harmony within the curation and installation overall and to select complimentary works for the landscape exhibition “Getting Closer to Nature” also recently installed within the Chambers.

To see the exhibition catalogue, please do not hesitate to contact us on jessica@vedocorporateart.com and to read more about the exhibition click here.