glass art

Framing Experience

This afternoon was spent talking philosophy of framing at the Alley Gallery. Here's the deal: I see my work as in motion. We get a fleeting glimpse of a moment, a fragment and then it's gone. Light animates the glass and changes the image with our movements, extending the idea of an ephemeral experience. Now here's where my framing issues come in: for me, a frame implies closure and definition at best and limits and constraints at worst. In my installation at Uncommon Ground, there's a literal escape from the frame. Irrepressible circles make a break for it up the wall, bouncing and floating free. I can envision a massive installation of Realize, the shimmering lines coursing out and disappearing off the edges. On the other hand, I am also very interested in presentation and finish. I want polished pieces. I have to manage edges. The work needs to be ready to hang. I need frames. So back to the most charming location in Evanston and my visit with Brent Houston, Darren Oberto and Ross Martens of the Alley Gallery. They hear me out each time (they've heard this before) and nod gravely at the conundrum in which I find myself. They are all practicing artists as well as expert framers so they are up for this conversation. They remind me that the physical frame has both a structural purpose of protecting the piece and a visual function of highlighting and calling attention to--rather than limiting--the work. Brent talks about the required switch from the deeply invested subjective perspective of artist to the objective perspective of viewer for making framing decisions. His tricks for literally getting a new perspective on the piece include viewing the piece through a mirror or looking at the piece from an extreme angle, rather than head-on. While I crave a consistent, uniform approach to framing, Brent recommends considering each piece (or series) individually and finding framing solutions that best connect with a particular composition, color palette, and set of transitions. And then he gamely shows me a bajllion different frame samples to explore options that connect with the work.

I am drawn to the simple spare metal floater frames with a very narrow profile. The frame meets the functional need of edging the piece and then provides a simple outline--a sort of dotted line which will allow my moment in time to move freely. Brent et al framed Verge this way. But I now have several new frame samples to look at with art in my studio and will keep an open mind to see what works for an upcoming commission. And after considerable solo deliberation, I'll use my own personal trick for getting an objective perspective: go talk art+frames with Brent, Darren and Ross at the Alley Gallery.