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Holding Art

It is the usual pattern of things that the art comes first and the frame follows. Frames have always been the subordinate element. Personally I have a reverence for old stuff so to me a knackered old frame is a thing of beauty to be cherished as if it were an artwork in itself. I don’t tend to hang empty frames though, an empty frame on a wall is a melancholy thing, however to my eye a stack of empty frames leaning nonchalantly against the walls holds promise and opportunity.

Some years ago I bought a mixed lot of large frames at auction, when I came to collect them I was staggered to discover that the collection was far more extensive than I’d initially thought. Suddenly I had stacks of frames lining the corridors of our home and spilling over into various rooms beyond.

One particularly large frame looked to be the right scale for a space in an interior design project I was working on but it needed content. As a designer I have a keen eye for the aesthetic I’m chasing and oftentimes it’s challenging finding artworks that will fit the budget and the space and the aesthetic at once.

The client project

Not considering myself an artist, I began developing a style that could be deemed ‘holding art’ - in this instance painting textile and wallpaper pattern influenced creations directly onto the backboards of frames. In this way I could create something that would ‘make do’ within the frame until the perfect piece came along, at which point the backboard’s art would become an added extra; a secret held inside.

The first large textural piece influenced by vintage textiles and wallpaper prints

However when it was completed my client was rather taken by the end result and the piece was adopted as a permanent fixture without inclination to find a replacement fill for the frame.

One frame filled successfully (beyond that which I’d imagined), now the rest of the stacked frames called to me. As with so many creatives I am my own harshest critic and numerous backboards have had their creations erased and redone, or, if not quite hitting the right note but not entirely the wrong one, I’ve just turned the board over and done another. Now I’ve a series, many of which have alternative works on the reverse. And the thing I really love about them is that I may struggle to deem them each worthy pieces of art, and the urge to erase them all is often strong, but once teamed with the frames which they were made to inhabit they seem to thrive.

Creating a mood by layering my pieces with existing art

This is symbiotic art.

Or holding art if you prefer.

This is only a small fraction of the frames, this art practice which the frames sparked has far to go and will inevitably develop. Personally I’m intrigued to see where this will lead, will the frames take the lead as originally imagined? Will the art gain the stronger edge? For now I enjoy the symbiosis.

With some frames I’m more inclined to the backs than the fronts

If you’d like to discuss a commission or purchase a piece of mine that you’ve seen, drop me a line.

(please note: I don’t sell just the frames)


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