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5 useful tips for understanding an exceptional art space.

What is space?

Space, or place is always a part of artwork, even if it is simply where the work is displayed. This is dealing with actual space. We are always in some kind of space, some kind of place, yet we often don’t think about it. We might be reminded when we see a majestic landscape, or when we come home again after a long day, or when we want to fix, decorate, or change our homes.

Think for a moment about characteristics of a specific space, or place. Every place is different. It might be inviting, welcoming, cheery, bright, colorful. It might be bleak, overwhelming, dark, foreboding, mysterious. It might be expansive and open, or it might be cramped and crowded. Each of these informs the artwork in a different way.

Negative space

Negative space is, quite simply, the space that surrounds an object in a image or sculpture. Just as important as that object itself, negative space helps to define the boundaries of positive space and brings balance to a composition..

Space in sculptures

The setting a sculpture is in becomes part of how it is viewed and its effect on us. This is a crucial element that must be considered during the process of conceiving and creating sculpture. Think for a moment of how you might feel about a sculpture if it is displayed outside, in a gallery, or in someone’s home. In each case the surroundings become part of the sculpture itself.

Space in paintings

Even two-dimensional artwork is affected by its surroundings. Imagine a painting by Rembrandt, framed in an ornate, heavy gold frame. Imagine it where you would most likely expect to find it: a large art museum in a major city, among countless works of art, considered to be priceless masterpieces and which are from numerous historical periods. Now imagine it in a modern art gallery, with stark white walls and an eclectic array of contemporary art. Compare that to seeing it in someone’s home, among their furnishings and taste in decorating. In two-dimensional work, space is implied. Two-dimensional artists are free to create any kind of space they envision. In addition, the viewer does not always relate the scale of the work to their own body. Within the picture plane anything is possible. It becomes like a window; and in our minds, we can be any size at all and imagine ourselves within the space the artist has created.

Space in three dimensions

Three-dimensional art is almost always experienced in relation to the scale of our own bodies. For example, if a sculpture is seven feet tall, it will appear intimidating to us. But if it is miniature in size, no matter what the subject matter, we dominate over it.

Space in installation and environmental art

For some artists, the space itself and how it is transformed is the artwork. Installation artists, landscape artists, and environmental artists all fit within that category.

Your Art Space

Think About Art Placement:

As you are designing your art space, think about the placement of each piece, particularly when you're hanging art over a sofa or chair or placing sculpture next to furniture. When installing artwork over furniture, leave at least eight inches between the base of the frame and the top of the furniture.

Develop a Palette: You can showcase art with a variety of shades for a colorful display, or use works in a similar color palette that will complement the space that your art hangs in.

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