February 11, 2014

Today's Tuesday Tip - "Framing"

This is not going to be a hands-on lesson in proper framing technique. The framing of artwork is a highly personal thing.  Some artists like minimal containment and some take a more over-the-top approach.  I fall into the later group.  I am what you might call a frame fetishist.

 I have lived in the Baltimore metro area most of my life and I have walked the hollowed halls of the Baltimore Museum of Art often and often.  The Cone collection is a particular favorite of mine.  It is renowned for its early 20th century works by Picasso, Braque, Matisse and their followers.  When then BMA Director Arnold Lehman and Deputy Director Brenda Richardson, who supervised the 1986 renovation of the museum's Cone Wing, decided to jettison the ornately carved gilt frames put on by Gertrude Stein and the Cone sisters in favor of modern strip frames, thinking that "of course the artists surely meant for them to be presented in a more modern simple frame."  The hue and cry was deafening.  I was leading the cheer when in 1999 new director Doreen Bolger returned the paintings to their original  frames which had mercifully been preserved for such an occasion. I Don't think every work of art should be framed to the extreme. Indeed much of my early work is stripped with lattice or simple aluminum but sometimes an overblown big honking frame is called for.

Here is an example of my penchant for the extreme.  We bought this diminutive watercolor by reclusive Smith Island artist Reuben Becker years ago.  The charming little painting is just 4" x 4".

watercolor by Reuben Becker 4" x 4"  1992

However, after we had our way with it, the painting garnered some respect with it's filigree lined mat and hefty gilt frame.

Another example is a piece done by Baltimore artist Steve Waugh.

watercolor by Steve Waugh  3 1/2" x 4"  1987

Too much, you say?  Maybe, but that's the way, uh huh, uh, huh,
I like it.

February 7, 2014

Friday Flashback - "Dancer and Mime"

Oil on Canvas
28" x 42"
circa 1982

This was painted in the heyday of the mime series back in the early eighties while I was working with movement arts majors Chris Millard and Vince Valenti. In the dance room of what is now Towson University the boys and I were taking a break when in walked a friend of Chris's, a good friend, by the look of it, and they began, er, interacting.  I grabbed my camera as he grabbed her and I got some beautifully composed images in less than five minutes. This stable pose became known as the "Adams triangle," which was oft repeated within my theatre oeuvre.