Anatomy and Art

a blog by Sara Egner

What’s in a Frame?

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So for the most part, I’ve been in a work haze lately.  Between the store where I’ve been working part time, and picking up almost every other hour I have on that 3D anatomy graphics gig lately, it’s been like one big cyclone of work work work.  But, in the midst of that haze, I was afforded one particular Tuesday afternoon to relax with a visit from The Delightfully Wicked Elmo Martin.  While he was in town, we took the opportunity to peruse the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art.  Now, I hadn’t previously been there, and in part that’s because I tend to have less appreciation for modern art than I do a lot of it’s predecessors.  But I have to say that going with someone who does have a greater appreciation for more high concept art projects was indeed enlightening.  One of the expressions that kept coming up is that “It’s all about the frame.”

But no, the frame isn’t just a physical frame on something, but more the overall framework in which the work is presented.  For a lot of the pieces we saw there, the whole room and the conceptual explanation was the frame.  I can get into that to an extent, but there is still a part of me that wants an artistic piece to stand on it’s own merit.  When I create fine art, I want people to be taken by it on it’s own right, and not just because they know the backstory, or because they studied really hard to get it.  And in taking this idea of calling all of that the frame, I couldn’t help but be amused with the introspection that I have, for years, gone out of my way to paint the edges of my paintings so that they do not require a frame.  And yes, as my friend pointed out, no frame is a kind of frame.  Sure.  But it got me thinking about what my frame of no frame means. If the frame is the packaging, the story, really if you think about it, the sales pitch even, then what does it mean that I’m always choosing to frame my work framelessly?  Or maybe being frameless in it’s most literal sense is fine, but it does make me think about the other ways in which I frame my work.  Sometimes I show things on this very blog.  I also have the gallery pages of all of my paintings.  These aren’t especially fancy presentations.  So maybe that’s something I should be paying more attention to.  The lack of bells and whistles has always felt more honest to me, but is it really?  And maybe presentation in general is something that I could work on in other aspects of my art, and even my life as well. Whether it’s a proper setting to display my paintings, or a clean lab coat in the clinic, it probably wouldn’t hurt for me to work on presentation a little.  Or maybe I should just make my own gallery where the only frames are on the benches where the patrons can sit.  I mean, they’re a part of the art experience too.  And maybe if I ever have my own anaplastology clinic, I’ll have extra lab coats for the patients to wear, so that we might all collaborate as experts working toward a common goal.  Now that’s my kind of frame.

Written by Sara

November 8th, 2011 at 12:16 am

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  1. […] of you may recall my recent post “What’s in a Frame.”  This really gets back to that whole argument for me.  In this case, the frame is the […]

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