Visual impact is the most important aspect of good framing, reports SANGEETHA SWAROOP
A work of art on the wall adds so much life and visual interest to any space. Hence, what goes around it is just as important as the artwork itself. The right frame can not only conserve an artwork from dust particles and ultraviolet (UV) rays, its design can also enhance the artwork, without overpowering it.
The correct frame greatly enhances the beauty of the artwork while also ensuring the longevity and preservation of the piece, believes Sharon Harvey, director, Showcase Gallery, Dubai. “While a well-selected frame can enhance the aesthetic of an artwork, bad framing can really make a great piece of art look mediocre or even ugly.”
Visual impact is the most important aspect of good framing, says Jodie Cummings, manager, Art House Dubai. Choosing the right frame that enhances the artwork and also fits in with the overall décor and style of a space can greatly enhance the visual element of a room.
A key factor to consider when choosing a frame is the medium of the artwork such as watercolour, pastel, oil and whether it is on paper, canvas or other materials,” she says. “For instance, glass is not generally used for oil paintings on canvas as they should be able to breathe, with air flowing around.”
The choice and size of frame should enhance the art and not overwhelm the painting, suggests Harvey. “Consideration should also be given to the type of glass used and whether or not to frame the artwork behind glass.”
While the final framed item is ideally a marriage between the requirements of the customer and the expertise of the framing consultant, new approaches to framing with innovative materials and styles are constantly being tested. “A popular approach at the moment for artwork on paper is to leave a gap between the glass and the piece itself to create a ‘box type’ frame,” she explains. “Another is to encase the work entirely in plexi-glass with no frame which is quite commonly seen in contemporary art in museums.”
Trends in interior design always spill over into picture framing, Cummings points out. “Wall colours have become bolder in recent years and mount colours and textures have adapted by introducing brighter colours and a range of different textures. One aspect of window mounting which has changed is the depth of the bevel. We offer an 8-ply depth which looks good on contemporary artworks and photographs, giving a deep bevelled window.”
Right frame: A well-selected frame
enhances the beauty of artwork
“Simple white frames are in vogue for a contemporary look and also ornate decorative frames painted in a glossy white, black or red, to create a funky look,” she says.
With regard to current trends in colour, it is back to simplicity, opines Harvey. “The standard black or white frames in a very simple contemporary style often used in art galleries and museums that focuses purely on the art itself and not really the frame are the most popular. We only work with solid wood frames, made from a very special light weight wood which has been properly cured and treated to avoid warping or any contamination of the artwork in the long term.”
Helping a client choose the right frame would begin with an assessment of the style of his decor and attempt to match that with the potential frame for his artwork, says Harvey. “One can usually find a common ground between what works with his/her style and also enhances the art. Budget too comes into the equation and it is important to have a balance amongst all three important factors.”
According to Cummings, “Art House Dubai will always guide the customer to choose a framing style to complement their item. For a contemporary piece of artwork on paper, we would recommend the box style of framing with a flat profile which creates clean lines. For a modern canvas, it would be a floating canvas style frame which gives a space between the canvas and edge of the frame moulding, so that the canvas is actually floating inside the frame. For a more traditional piece of artwork, an elegant style with maybe an ornate frame and a matching fillet/slip inside a window mount to create a period, vintage look would be ideal.”
“Mirrors can also be made to look funky with a bright red ornate frame, to fit into a contemporary setting,” she adds.
Despite the protective and the aesthetic contribution a good frame design brings about, a common mistake people make is trying to cut costs, says Harvey. “An inexpensive frame can make a finished product look ‘cheap’ whereas an amazing frame used on even a simple print can make it look fabulous.”
Use of sub-standard materials to cut costs will lead to eventual damage of the artwork, she warns. “Incorrect hanging systems and putting the artwork on paper straight onto mount boards that are not acid free are also damaging. I also steer customers away from trying too hard to match the frame with the furniture in the room and focus more on what works best for the artwork instead.”
Cummings points out that a common framing mistake is when the mount and frame overpowers and distracts from the piece of artwork. “You should remember that your eye should be drawn to the art, not taken away from it! If the colours used are stronger than the artwork itself, they will fight for attention and can ruin the look”
Equally important is the way the artworks are secured into the frame, she adds, citing the case of a genuine Picasso artwork on paper which had been stuck with masking tape causing staining on the edges of the paper.
Conservation framing ought to be considered if the item is valuable or a precious personal possession, she therefore advises. “Acid free and conservation tapes should be used to properly protect your valuable items for future generations.”