Monday, September 25, 2006

Framing One's Thoughts

I used to hate picture frames. For a long time, I thought that art was, somehow, less if it needed a frame. I thought it should be able to stand alone, with no border or decoration.
None of my early works were framed. I started painting around and along the edges of large boards and canvasses because I wanted them to look like objects as well as glossy surfaces. When I did small works on paper for friends, I laid glass directly on top of them (an archivist's nightmare!) and secured the edges with metal clasps. I hated any extraneous lines. I hated too-well-defined edges.
I think I was over-influenced by my short time at art school. My lecturers were constantly looking to destroy anything 'old' or 'traditional'. There was often no reason for this except to be reactionary, something I am still prone to be. It's an affliction I'm trying to overcome.
Since my last exhibition of Voodoo-inspired works on paper, for which the works were framed in wide timber mouldings that looked like the mildewed, worm-eaten planks of coffins that had been buried then dug up, I have grown to love frames. They act sometimes as a psychic window between the world within the image, and the world outside it, enticing the viewer to focus on the image and discouraging them from being distracted by of whatever else might be in sight.

2 comments:

David Howard said...

Frames to me seem to suggest that the work is somehow archived and finished and need to go on a wall.
When that happens I seem to look at them for longer periods to try and understand what I've done. Its like the frame has somehow stamped approval on the art and I then have to discover its magic. But besides all that nonsense, it protects the picture. I have a friend who is an artist and framer and seems to look at the frames more than the art at exhibitons. Sometimes he jokes that he would like to see an exhibition of frames only.
Oh,well
David

Anonymous said...

I worked with Greg Fitzpatrick and Melanie Mason the Waywood gallery and Picture Framers in Byron Bay, (which they have now sold and moved on from), for 3 years and from my experiences in multi tasking in this many fasceted business of art (exhibiting artist, curator's assistant, and framers assistant)I learned that at times a frame should remain as the silent letter in a word. Seen but not heard. Other times it can be as important as the piece of art. It's a fine art in itself and unfortunately as in so many other realms, it is too often undermined and mass produced. One issue I struggled to come to grips with was the clients' all too often perception that these materials are disposable, not to mention the process gone into the execution of building it and creating the perfect balance. Fine paper products and strong staight timber( usually from beautiful rainforest trees from the Asian/Indonesian region ) should be regarded as priceless treasures that are too quickly being used up to satisfy the seasonal whims of the decor addicts. Value the good framers because they are masters of their craft. Peace and longevity to you and your art! Kellie