Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Toojiskeha, 2009, oil/panel, 48" x 36". (click on image for enlargement)

You might call this a Marchessault "Unframed". It's my first try at publicly dispensing with a picture frame. I actually painted right around the edges. This is nothing new in the world of fine art painting where many artists do not frame their work. However, in the commercial world of selling art in galleries and the like; once you've started to present your work with a frame it's hard for the sales teams to wean collectors off of them.

In fact, some of the galleries that represent my work actually photograph them in the frame and show the image with the frame included on their web sites. They know that their clients are attracted to nicely crafted picture frames. I sometimes joking refer to this as buying nice "furniture" with a free painting inside :-) But joking aside, the dealers are dead serious in their desire to present art in a package that is expected by the types of clients they serve.

I honestly find this discouraging. I work hard on the pieces in my studio. No frame is involved in the creation of the art. When the painting is completed, that decision is made without the influence of a hand rubbed picture frame. I would love for people to engage with the work as it is. But for many, collecting art is about decorating the home or office. People who can afford high priced art have beautiful homes and for many of them there is a need to maintain conventions - art is housed in frames period. It's how things are supposed to look.

So how to cope with the pressure to sell art (and stay alive financially) yet present my work as I'd like to? Here's a first attempt. Hopefully, it will work out well.