Friday, 6 June 2008

framing - limiting

I am excited! The new series of five classes started today and we drew and painted clouds. That was quite exciting -- more later. More exciting was getting my pictures back mounted and framed. I had three put in mounts and two framed -- the Rape Field and Fading Anemones. For a while I didn't want to unwrap them because I was a bit scared that I might not like them, but once out of the bubble wrap they really pleased me. The framer has done a good job -- it's all neat and tidy, with gold rings and felt pads to stop the frame rubbing the wall. What a nice feeling to hang them on the wall!

There's a kind of conflict going on between my art and my other professional work. In my professional arena I am an expert with a long list of publications and achievements; in the art I still feel like a beginner and only have a small set of paintings and drawings that could be made public, although hundreds of others lie in the backs of cupboards and in old sketch books. My professional expertise provides me with financial security but sometimes I'd rather live in a small house, spend less money, and live with the art. Having built up expertise in one field over 20 or so years, I feel very weary and it's hard to be excited these days. For me now art is fresh and lively. In my art I can be wild and free, and push myself to be wilder and freer. In my other work, I have to be precise and accurate and have to push myself to be more precise and more accurate. In my work, my cv frames me. It is wearing and wearying.

After a few hours, I do start to resist the framing of my paintings. I try to work out why I preferred them loose, with the ragged white edges left by removing masking tape, curling stiffly at odd angles, each in their own way. The framing has turned them into a different kind of object, made them kind of bourgeois, a decoration for the wall of a house,thereby losing something of the creative feel of the un-framed, un-bound, painting on paper. Before it was framed, there was always a possibility of more development; now it's frozen, covered with glass, hard edged, stopped. No more dynamics.

I wonder if there are other ways of preparing these for display that don't lose (oh! instead of lose the software typed the blues..) their immediacy. Perhaps I could just fix a ring on the back of the paper so that it could be hung on the wall? Of course, the painting would decay faster, get dusty or keep falling off the wall, but it would still have a life or be part of a life rather than separated away behind its glass and inside its wooden frame. I'll keep looking to see how others deal with this -- I notice that the gallery advertisements in the art magazine contain pictures but never frames.

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