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.

Getting closer to Nature – VEDO’s landscape exhibition at a Barristers’ Chambers in London

Our latest project has been an absolute joy, bringing strong and bold interpretations of the landscape subject-matter into a prestigious barristers’ chambers.

We have recently curated and installed forty-seven artworks in a contemporary art exhibition at a London based Chambers’ magnificent newly refurbished premises.

Our brief was to curate an exhibition throughout the six conference rooms, to choose strong, inspiring and uplifting artworks that would resonate with the barristers, clerking team and most importantly the clients.

It was important that the artworks were sensitive to the environment (aesthetically pleasing, worked well within the space, were not provocative or offensive) but they also needed to work well alongside a private collection of a further 40 artworks we were also tasked to curate.  Above all, the art was to stimulate conversation and interest in the installation.

Taking up our brief, we decided to choose landscape as a subject matter as a way of introducing different techniques, use of artistic materials as well as perceptions and interpretations of this great theme.

We selected six artists working in different mediums from photography, oil painting and acrylics, ink, mixed media paintings and giclee prints, each artist interpreting and portraying landscape in their unique and distinctive style.

A strong sense of form, colour and abstraction were underlying themes we wanted to project across the display in order to compliment an installation of Contemporary art prints loaned to the Company by a private collector, also curated by VEDO.

Leading With The Exceptional

Artist Denis Bowen (c) Gallery Different

Karina’s art gallery Gallery DIFFERENT has generously loaned five works by her leading artist Denis Bowen.

We have led the exhibition with three large oil paintings by this renowned and important artist to the development of British abstract art.

Bowen, a South African born artist to British parents, returned to the UK after being orphaned at a young age. Raised by his Aunt in Huddersfield, he studied art from the age of 15 and after serving in the Navy in the Second World War he went on to study art at the Royal College of Art.

He became a leading abstract artist and gallery director in the UK, was the founder of the New Vision Group and the New Vision Centre Gallery which played an important role in the British art scene post 1945. He taught art at numerous art colleges and inspired a future generation of abstract artists that followed him.

Artist Denis Bowen, (c) Gallery Different

We see a range of his interests in different landscapes from volcanic landscapes, to explosive skies bursting with colour and energy, to cosmic scenes, displaying distant planets inspiring awe at the lunar landing of Apollo 13 and the Apollo space program.

His “psychedelic works” from 1969-1980 that incorporate UV light show an artist experimenting with live music performance and someone who was thoroughly engaged in an immersive experience. 

Bowen’s preoccupation with space activity has left a lasting impression on his legacy, the many artists he inspired. His recognition as a leading figure in British abstract art and avant-garde art is marked by his works in Tate Britain’s museum collection. 

These strong abstract oil paintings take prominence in the entrance and reception areas and in a small conference room overlooking Gray’s Inn gardens, bringing guests into close proximity with the power and majesty of the universe as Bowen saw it.

Skylines

(c) Artist Christopher Hauser

Bowen’s works contrast beautifully with the slick black and white high definition architectural skylines and abstract architectural shots by the Munich based rising star in fine art photography Christopher Hauser.

No one captures the intensity and beauty in the details of urban architecture like Hauser. His fascination with geometrical details, brings to life the stark beauty of immense glass and steel structures, recalling the influence of Bauhaus architects that built and inspired the greatest city skyscrapers.  

Hauser stuns us with strong sweeping landscape views of great cities across the globe and we have selected international cities where the barristers work.

A particularly strong and impressive work is his shot of The Millennium Bridge in London, prominently displayed in a ground floor conference room. From Kuala Lumpur to Singapore and Sydney to a stunning night time view of the bay of Hong Kong in hues of midnight blue that dominates a whole wall of a conference room, the picture faces a stunning downtown view of New York City, basking in the glow of a pink sunset. All reinforces the majesty of large urban city development.

It is hard to imagine this young man standing on these extraordinary structures at phenomenal heights waiting for the perfect shot. We step into his shoes for a moment and are in awe of these stunning city views.

Seascapes

(c) Artist Richard Wincer

On the second floor, the chambers have an arbitration suite and here we decided to set a tone of calm, serenity and elegance.

We chose oil paintings by British artist Richard Wincer. Wincer is heavily influenced by the beauty in the English landscape and coastline. He is drawn to imagining the past and speaking to a by gone age of declining industries, such as the fishing communities.

His paintings have this haunting feel of the past, yet they feel familiar and comforting. Just like the great old masters he captures a timelessness that is the essence of beauty. His skill is in patiently stripping back his abstract oil paintings until he reaches the right tones, hues and texture and in doing this, you feel time has been stripped back too and he has found the right ambience and mood within the abstracted forms.

There is an incredible sense of calm and peacefulness in these works, like the passing of time. The mood and ambience was welcomed by the barristers and so we decorated a second room with earlier works, that were slightly more figurative to show Wincer’s artistic progression, also to demonstrate the strong influence of seascapes, islands, ports and ships at sea that we felt might have some relevance and resonance for a leading shipping law team of barristers within the set, 36 Stone.

Pioneering photography on canvas

(c) Artist Jacques Godard

In a smaller break out room, we changed up to photography by an established French photographer called Jacques Godard, now in his 70s but possibly creating his best work yet.

He has developed a fascinating technique called pixoplasty. We showed how his work has progressed in the field of landscape across his long career by selecting works in small format prints from different periods and these works demonstrate a complete change in style and techniques.

We took his more recent works, a large triptych called Bacchanales, large monochrome abstract works on canvas onto the barristers’ floors to continue the exhibition throughout the building.

It was a pleasure to be loaned works by this museum-collected artist who is truly a pioneer in photographic techniques and a renowned teacher of photography at colleges in France.

His pixoplasty technique sees a fusion of old and highly modern techniques to manipulate the images and create dramatic abstract forms.

Godard prints the images on canvas and this translation of print to canvas gives the impression of abstract paintings, rather than photographs to stunning effect.

Bright bold acrylics

One of the Gallery’s hot new artists, Gwen Joy Royston has leant several canvasses introducing incredible pops of colour throughout the space. Royston is an established artist too with a long career.

We found that many of the barristers’ loved strong colour and so we were very pleased to have the opportunity to display her wonderful bright abstract paintings.

We have brought a riot of colour into the Silks’ rooms and barrister’s rooms.

Royston studied under Albert Irvin and his influence is undeniable and as two of the best works loaned to the set from the private collection are by Albert Irvin we decided to run with this and display several works by his former pupil.

(c) Artist Gwen Joy Royston

Royston uses strong brush strokes that strike the canvas filling the central space with bold painterly blocks of colour. She uses large blocks of black and blue paint set against tangerines, purple, gold and hot pinks. Although the subject-matter of the work is often deeply personal and connote moments in the artist’s life, her feelings and emotions are conveyed in these strong abstract forms, there seems to be an inextricable link to the stunning landscape on which Royston would gaze from her magnificent studio based near the Pyrenees mountains.

Distorted beauty – London not as you see it

(c) Artist Mick Dean

Last but not least, we have displayed works by one of our favourite artists, Mick Dean.

An artist who held a very successful career in commercial photography before turning his talents to becoming a figurative painter, he has been based in a studio in East India Docks in London, for many years.

His love affair with London is apparent in his work. He is fascinated by beauty in the most unexpected vistas. From moss covered rotting wharfs to mysterious canals that wind their way under graffiti painted tunnels through our glorious city.

Dean brings to life a beauty in landscape views that may go unnoticed or unappreciated. He will show you beauty in a rain flooded cobble stoned street spilling into a drain, to fishing tackle on boats lost to decay and atrophy and the moss strewn undercarriages of wharfs.

His photographer’s eye for detail has meant he depicts water in a very impressive way, but form always takes precedent and it is the structures in the Thames, such as the docks, piers, barges and wharfs that seem to dominate the canvasses. 

As mother nature silently erodes parts of old London, with the past urban views ebbing away, Dean also shows us beauty in the process of decline and disintegration.

To see more of the paintings in the exhibition and to receive a copy of our exhibition brochure, please do not hesitate to contact us on jessica@vedocorporateart.com.

Bringing Damien into the Dining Room

 

I was sitting in restaurant the other day and my eye was drawn to a very interesting textile hanging from the wall. It was very colourful, but the medium of the textile made it muted and soft at the same time. The whole effect was comforting and homely, perfectly matching the vibe that particular place wanted to project.

For many restauranteurs, proprietors and chefs, simply having food that shines is often not enough. We have all sat in bars, cafes and restaurants, enjoying the food but feeling there’s something lacking about the decoration and vibe.

For diners, the enjoyment of any dish can be immeasurably heightened by the ambience of their environment. Not every restaurant can offer the idyllic setting of a secluded Mediterranean bay to enhance the flavour of the fish, but there is so much than can be done to improve any dining experience.

It will not be a surprise to many that, as a pioneering capital city, London is a leading light in respect of this trend. From high profile restaurants with lots of wall space to smaller-scale boutique venues, there is an opportunity for any proprietor to follow suit and use art to both speak to their clients and temper the dining experience.

Possibly the best examples of this are any of the establishments which make up the Hix restaurant group.

With a handful of venues positioned mostly around the capital, artworks form an integral part of the experience of eating some of the best food the country has to offer. Enjoy a gin Martini or a sizzling steak amidst museum quality artworks by Damien Hirst, Harland Miller or Sarah Lucas (to name but a few…).

Mark Hix has taken the relationship between eating food and appreciating art one step further by creating a fantastic art space beneath one of his restaurants, Tramshed, in Shoreditch, East London.

The Gallery sources new talent and venerates established contemporary masters whilst offering top quality food. To understand more about the space, take a look at HIX ART gallery’s website http://hixart.co.uk/about/ where they summarise this symbiotic relationship perfectly: ‘HIX ART transforms into one of the coolest dining spaces in London. We have hosted wedding receptions, corporate dinners and birthday celebrations. Decorate the room and tables as you wish, sit back and enjoy beautiful art and Tramshed’s fantastic food.’ The food and art truly seem inextricably linked.

This practice, however, is by no means a new phenomenon. In their informative article on restaurants positioning themselves as art galleries, the Independent recall the magnificent works commissioned by New York’s Seagram Building in the middle of last century; ‘the Mark Rothko paintings known as The Seagram Murals, commissioned in 1958 for the Four Seasons restaurant’ were a pioneering force for those extolling the benefits of bringing artworks out of the galleries and into the restaurants.

One of the first prominent restaurants in London to happily embrace the art gallery dining experience was Pied à Terre in 34 Charlotte Street, this Michelin star restaurant developed under the creative force of David Moore quickly attracted a HNW crowd and it was not long before artworks by significant British artists were hanging on the walls.

The Turner Prize-nominated and Fourth Plinth commissioned artist David Shrigley has for some time decorated the entire wall space at Sketch in Conduit Street, as this restaurant looks to a long-term exhibition programme for artists. Shrigley’s first series of 239 drawings, full of witty and satirical messages that are now to be replaced with 91 new colourful works and ceramic tableware emblazoned with the artist’s sharp humoured texts and drawings. This is an example of one artist’s work dominating a restaurant space.

According to WGSN.com the top 5 art inspired restaurants are: the Arts Club in Mayfair, Coya London, Hixter Bankside, Magazine and Pharmacy 2.

Each of these restaurants offer a unique approach to combining art and dining, from the exciting murals commissioned by São Paulo street artist Loro Verz and a rotating series of artists, that include works by Amrita Bilimoria’s at Coya restaurant in 118 Piccadilly to the fully immersive art-food experience of Pharmacy 2 in Pimlico.

For those who loved Damien Hirst’s original Pharmacy, this collaboration between Hirst and Hix within Hirst’s art gallery space takes it to another level by showcasing a range of top artists as well as displaying iconic works by Hirst such as DNA strands in etched glass and hand-crafted pill designs embedded within the floor.

The Rosewood Hotel has paid homage to British cartoonist and art world figure Gerald Scarfe in their in-house bar, ‘Scarfes Bar’. On their website they confirm that ‘the collection of amusing and conversation-provoking paintings…adorn the marble walls turning Scarfes Bar into a living canvas’. Visitors to the bar are encouraged to engage with the works while they sit and enjoy the wonderful selection of cocktails this institution boasts.

With so many opportunities to enjoy art and food in unison, it seems this trend has taken force. If you have a restaurant or establishment and you too can see the immediate value art can add to a setting, please contact VEDO.

Our specialist art consultants can help source art that matches your brand and ethos, so the art has an affinity with your company reinforcing your values to your client base and staff. Whether the brand and ambience are designed to appeal to a young professional crowd, an arts and creative crowd or an older more sophisticated clientele, the art you choose can really speak volumes about your company and your creative vision.

We have found that where restaurants have a strategy for their art and a collection plan, the impact can be extremely impressive. For those wishing to generate unique dialogues with their visiting clientele, we can guide you through the myriad of opportunities available to you.

You don’t need to fill the walls with Hirsts and Emins to create a wow factor, there are many different types of artworks and artists whose works sell at varying price points. From talented up and coming emerging artists to established artists, to a cross range of interesting crafts, antiques and collectibles, all of which can be in the affordable price bracket from £100-£500 for prints, ceramics, photographs, drawings and small works up to £1,000 – £5,000 for larger works such as paintings on canvas, any of which can add great interest to the space and transform the overall experience.

Commissioning bespoke art is also another option open to clients, where artists will create a work that meets a client’s specific requirements. We work with a group of very talented contemporary artists, including sculptors, painters, etchers and other visual practitioners, each of whom can create bespoke commissions to suit any kind of space. Please see our website here for more details.

It’s time to provide a more engaging dining experience and VEDO is the company to help you start that process.

 

 

The Healing Power of Art: Why Companies should tap into this.

(c) Artist Bruno Tinucci, Clarendon Fine Art Gallery

A few weeks ago, I was in the waiting area at a hospital in London anxiously awaiting the outcome of an X-ray for a very close relative of mine who was having to investigate some alarming symptoms.

As I fidgeted nervously, and my eyes darted around the deserted waiting room in the early morning hours, my eye caught these beautiful landscape paintings which I simply assumed were reproductions.

As an art consultant and someone who loves art my attention was grabbed. On closer inspection these were in fact original paintings by contemporary artists. The works were curated by Rebecca Marsham, Senior Gallery Manager of Clarendon Fine Art Gallery in Cobham.

The theme was contemporary impressionistic landscapes by two different artists, a Russian artist Maya Eventov and an Italian artist called Bruno Tinucci. Both artists use strong sun light with dramatic effect and have a bold painterly style and their paintings are very uplifting.

I then spent some time looking at the views within the paintings.

I was transported to Tinucci’s lush sunflower field and rustic farm house, with a piercing blue-sky backdrop set in a typical rural Tuscany setting. Through the sway of the flora and strong light, you could feel the cool breeze and intensity of the burning sunshine.

I then stood before two large silver birches within a woodland. Eventov’s use of painting and etching on the canvas to build up the composition layers cleverly creates a sculptural quality to her works.

All of a sudden I felt calmer, my breath had settled, and I had shifted from an anxious state to a more balanced place. My relative came back into the waiting room and I was very fortunate to find that the X-ray revealed nothing sinister.

This is the first time I experienced the potential power of art in a medical setting.

Having spent a good three years in and out of clinics, hospitals and surgeries I was used to seeing many different types of artworks in this type of environment.

Unfortunately more often than not the art was uninteresting, pops of brightly coloured abstracts or great swirls of paint, randomly placed on the walls and designed to simply brighten the space or to merely blend into the interior design scheme but with no more meaning or significance.

However, art that has true synergy with the message the clinic wants to convey has an altogether far greater impact. Art can talk to the viewer, visually stimulating the senses and can convey powerful and challenging messages.

Whether it’s just to captivate the viewer with the awesome power of Mother Nature through a gorgeous landscape that may remind us of greater things than ourselves, of life’s reassuring cycle or simply the pure beauty there is to be found in our natural world or the art is on some other topic altogether, on a conscious and sub-conscious level art speaks to us all.

There have been studies on the impact of art on the healing process and recovery of patients and many top clinics and hospitals have used art in their wards for this primary purpose and with great effect.

When the clinic gets it right as they did at this hospital, with the installation having been professionally sourced and curated, it can leave a very positive and lasting impression on the viewer, as it had done so for me.

I have since contacted the Gallerist Rebecca Marsham and asked her how she came to select these artworks and Rebecca explained to me the following:

“The Wellington Hospital approached me to buy some permanent artwork for one of their units. I know only too well the power that the right (or wrong) artwork can deliver – the positive mood it can induce which is so important for healing –  so I went on a mission to find artists that painted specifically uplifting, joyous and yet calming artwork. I thought it was important to set the right tone for all visitors to the unit: the patients, the medical staff and the visitors.”

We have found that where the art consultant has a clearly defined brief in mind and understands precisely what the client wants to achieve, this can lead to the best results. In this case creating “the right tone” and ensuring the artworks were uplifting, joyous and calming and were appropriate for all the visitors to the unit were criteria used to find artworks that would meet the client’s requirements. Having specific criteria in mind can also significantly cut down the sourcing time and time taken selecting the artworks for purchase and/or display for both the art consultant and client.

At VEDO, we find art that truly has synergy with your Company’s brand and ethos. We liaise with galleries and independent artists in the UK and internationally to help source art that can have that desired impact for clients, artworks that impart meaning and significance and can have resonance with the appropriate audience whether it is clients, staff or suppliers.

To find out more about our process, please see our services page here.

To find out more and for a free consultation contact us here

Hedgehog is Subject of Artistic Mural in Urban Ipswich

Hedgehogs are quite literally the talk of the town in Ipswich at the moment. In a plea to raise awareness about wildlife welfare in the area, an artist has been commissioned to paint a mural of this shy, often overlooked mammal.

Street Artist, ATM, has painted a vast mural of a hedgehog in profile on the gable end of an Ipswich pub. His work, a mural which can’t be missed, has received much acclaim from both local residents and individuals from further afield (if you’ll excuse the pun).

The mural may look sweet, however the message is strong. The work is meant to signify the importance of these small but significant animals to Ipswich and the UK’s wider wildlife and ecosystems. On their website, the Suffolk Wildlife Trust confirms that the recently unveiled image both honours “Ipswich as a Hedgehog Hotspot” and also publicises “Hedgehog Awareness Week”.

ATM has reportedly developed a name for himself within the art community for depicting images of endangered species in urbanised city or town settings. In their article on the project, the BBC reference ATM’s aspiration that the works encourage individuals to think more about their ever-threatened natural environment and in this instance, the humble hedgehog. He hopes it will urge people to “not use weed killers on their plants, not use slug pellets… think about hedgehogs’ needs,” the BBC article confirms.

The mural is part of a large scale project to help hedgehogs more generally. In 2016, the Suffolk Wildlife Trust created a new role, that of Hedgehog Officer, to be based in Ipswich to respond to the increased numbers of sightings of the animals in and around the area.

According to a BBC article on the subject, the Suffolk Wildlife Trust’s appointment of the Hedgehog Officer, was no small or easy task. The Trust was apparently inundated with applications from individuals from around the world. They finally settled, however, on Ms Alexandra North who studied Zoology and has been central to Ipswich’s hedgehog mural project.

Commissioning public art, such as this mural can have benefits that go far beyond adding to the artistic and visual landscape within a community, they can pack a serious message and raise awareness about significant issues and also act as a call to action. In the great graffiti art tradition, an important message can conveyed as well as being a fun and interactive medium.

To find out more about commissioning public art works by contemporary artists please contact us at Jessica@vedocorporateart.com.

Hype Around Hirst’s New Exhibition – But to What End?

Art produced by YBA heavyweight, Damien Hirst, always seems to make the headlines. Whether it is stories about astronomical prices for pieces or tales from the artist’s own life, the newspapers and magazines are always interested in what Damien Hirst is up to.

The current feature for many is Hirst’s newest exhibition, held across two venues, the Punta della Dogana and Palazzo Grassi in art hotspot, Venice, for this year’s Biennale.

Entitling the show, “Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable” Hirst has certainly sought to capture media attention it would seem. In an article on the show, the Guardian’s Sarah Hughes, has termed it “one of the most tightly guarded art exhibitions of recent years,”…but how has it been received?

In a fascinating short interview on the BBC’s Arts and Entertainment website (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-39534654 ) Arts Editor, Will Gompertz, quizzes Hirst on the exhibition’s main exhibits and themes.

Hirst confirms that the 180 or more artefacts and objects on show are those from an imaginary ship which took place over 2000 years ago.

The items are supposed to have been part of an historic and extensive collection amassed by a great individual. On their website, the Palazzo Grassi confirm that the collector is called “Aulus Calidius Amotan – a freed slave better known as Cif Amotan II”.

Included alongside the objects are photographs showing their underwater discovery. By including these photographs, Hirst really taps into the theme of belief as we really feel we are part of a major, historic discovery of an extraordinary body of work. The exhibition itself covers the whole process from the finding of the artefacts through to displaying of them.

Hirst tells Gompertz in the BBC video that “for me the show is about belief, and you can believe whatever you want to believe.” He continues, “I’ve spent so much time on it that it’s not a lie…I just believe it.”

Back on dry land, Hirst purports of have spent over £50million on this exhibition and when we consider the materials used to create these artworks – gold, crystal and bronze are among those listed – this figure makes more sense.

Not everyone, however, is pleased to see it’s unveiling. Activist group, Animalisti, the Guardian article confirms, have been responsible for depositing over 40 kilos of animal manure outside one of the two exhibition venues, the Palazzo Grassi. Their motivation is believed to stem from Hirst’s use of animal carcasses in a number of his previous works of art.

“Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable” runs between 9 April 2017 and 3 December 2017 alongside Venice Biennale’s extensive programme of events and exhibitions.

To see images either visit Hirst’s own website or take a look at the official Palazzo Grassi’s website.
It is one of the most reviewed exhibitions and is nothing short of sensational. Our VEDO art consultants will be paying a visit to see whether we too are captivated by the make believe world of Hirst. Watch this space for more details.