In the world of fine art, there is one supporting actor that never gets the recognition it deserves: frames. While their basic purpose is understood, their versatility is rarely recognized. Unassuming and modest, frames are often overlooked and forgotten by the audience who are focused on the star of the show. Though the art of framing has been around for centuries, there have only recently been discussions about the weight and importance of the frame. Besides the basic use, there is a plethora that frames can accomplish and communicate. The history and psychology that goes along with them is so extensive, it is difficult to picture what art history would be like without them. Since frames have been patiently waiting for their moment to shine, let’s explore just how important and influential these seemingly unimportant frames can be. They preserve, present, and personalize the artwork for the audience.
Above all, the frame serves as a cradle for the piece. Bridging the distance between the artwork and its audience, it bears the wear and tear that would otherwise take a toll on the precious artwork. It can be seen as the cherry on top, signifying completion as well as adding another element of texture, color, and form to the piece. The absence of a frame can also be a statement from the artist, and frames are almost completely absent in digital artwork. This could partially be the inherent safety against wear and tear that a digital art piece has, but maybe the medium consciously rejects frames.
Like the artwork itself, there is a process and skill that goes into deciding the frame for the piece. This can potentially be a stressful situation for famous and starving artists alike, since buyers can be particular when it comes the frame. Some artists suggest consistency to thwart the stresses that can come along with framing a piece. That way, if a buyer rejects the frame, the artist can use it for it one of their pieces. A true investment, the artist should never regard the frame as lesser than the actual piece.
Like art itself, the styles and mindsets around framing have evolved throughout the years. Do you think that framing will continue to be phased out as digital art takes over or will it continue to serve these purposes for artwork in future generations?