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Art That Works

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Art always makes a statement. Whether it says executive suite or cozy family business, the artwork in an office is among the first things both visitors and employees will see. We asked one of Westchester’s foremost art experts, Kenise Barnes of Kenise Barnes Fine Art in Larchmont, what makes the ideal office statement.

According to Barnes, the first step in selecting office art lies in assessing the business itself. “The nature of the business or industry, who they are and who they serve, is essential to consider. Often, the company’s principals will have a vision or identity that they want to broadcast, and the artwork will reinforce those ideas,” she explains.

Such reinforcement is, in Barnes’ opinion, vital to any corporation. Adding art to a work environment “demonstrates to your team that you are invested in the beauty and quality of the workplace, that you believe in the longevity of your business and in the happiness and engagement of your employees,” she asserts. 

 So, what constitutes a good piece of art for an office, and where and how should you go about sourcing it? Here’s some advice from Barnes:

Take a cue from the great outdoors.
“Art inspired by nature is perennially pleasing; it is both soothing and inspiring. It satisfies many tastes and gives a digestible entry point for art appreciation,” Barnes says. But she’s not suggesting you fill your office with ordinary landscapes or flower photos: “Many artists capture the essence of nature or allude to it in compelling ways.”

Go contemporary.

Barnes feels that contemporary art, preferably by living artists, often works best in an office environment. She recommends pieces by Eve Stockton, who carves abstracted natural forms into wood blocks. “[Stockton’s] work is inviting and interesting visually, on a technical level,” she says.

Shop around.
When it comes to selecting the perfect piece, Barnes points to the Artist’s Guild and ArtsWestchester, which hosts a number of artists’ studios, as ideal sources. (Though we think her own gallery is a fine place to start.) You may also commission a work directly from an artist, of course, she says; site-specific work requires a longer timeline, but Barnes believes the results can be well worth the wait: “The collaboration can be exciting!”

Consider a series.
“Find multiple pieces that harmonize with one another without being too similar,” she advises. “Many artists work in a series, exploring a concept or subject in depth. A grouping of artwork that is conceptually related and are all the same size and material make a visually powerful statement.” 

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