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A fine exhibition of local artistic talent

A picture is worth a thousand words — so what's in a frame? The answer lies in the BSoA and Frameworks exhibition at City Hall.

This collaboration is an opportunity to see just how framing can be done if you have a free range with budget. The profit from the exhibition will go directly to the BSoA, Masterworks, Bermuda National Gallery and Bermuda Arts Centre at Dockyard. Some of the participating artists have either donated or partially donated their pieces to benefit the visual arts in Bermuda.

So often the artist can view framing as an unwelcome financial outlay before their art can be presented for public exhibition.

It is an investment that doesn't guarantee a return and therefore artists may be forgiven for a conservative approach in choosing a frame. For this show, Frameworks was given free rein to unleash their creative potential and show the value of a good frame.

They designed and assembled each frame for the exhibition.

There is a huge range of pictures with all manner of frames and matting.

Some are comprised of several different frame mouldings within a single piece.

The show is backed by 43 artists including Graham Foster, Sharon Wilson, Sheilagh Head, Otto Trott, Antoine Hunt, Chris Marson, as well as Jonah Jones.

It is a fine exhibition and demonstrates the wealth of talent and experience Bermuda's artists possess.

The stunning large scale, “Cumulus Number 1”, is a contemporary photographic study by Antoine Hunt. In a fiery red-orange horizon, high above the cloudscape, he has added the intrepid rise of a nascent cloud. It goes in search of, as the artist describes in accompanying text, “this cloud's quest for an authentic experience”. It is a highlight, both for the piece itself, and the combination of its frame; picked out as it is, with a strip of blue in white. It has a stylish simplicity that delivers maximum effect.

Vaughn Evans's untitled submission is a relief triptych print, prominent for its complex technique and clarity of vision and, again, framed to perfection. It is a view from Abbot's Cliff overlooking Harrington Sound in a Japanese woodcut style and overprinted with colour. The texture of wood grain can be seen imprinted on the picture surface.

Jacqueline Alma is a thoughtful artist, not just because of her ability to render a masterful drawing, but in the thought provoking quality she expresses. In her graphite drawing, “Suspension”, a skeletal backbone is shown connected by lines to the four motifs below of a shell, feather, moth and parrot fish. They are intricately patterned metaphors for life. Two pieces of red thread incorporated within the piece mark the “red sting of fate” of Chinese philosophy and symbolise an unbreakable bond between those we are destined to meet. It was an integral element within her portrait show at Masterworks last year. Superlative framing adds to the engagement of the piece.

“Fragmented” is a pastel by Vanessa Turner and shows a fruit bowl separated into four elements which split the still life as whole. We are guided, individually, to appreciate the colours, textures, light and shadows. She has cleverly arranged the four pieces of the round composition into asymmetrical rectangles to punctuate the visual journey. Charles Zuill, Ally Lusher and Monica Jones exhibit fine miniatures.

Scott Stallard's untitled piece of monochrome photography shows children at play with a bicycle in the squalid conditions of a Palestinian refugee camp. Their clothes are tattered and they have grubby yet ebullient faces, full of innocent delight. This is in stark contrast to the incongruous conditions of the daily lives of these children of conflict.

Katherine Zuill has discovered a semiabstract style in her untitled mixed-media miniature on display. Two tiny blue starfish at the foot of the picture are perfectly weighted on the sea floor and the tracery of the sea fans finely painted. It is wonderful when an artist can express another visual language and so intelligently. Sheilagh Head rejoices in the abstract and exhibits an untitled oil painting. The restrained background of the canvas gives way to a dramatic climax of hot colour in her continual investigation of shape and form.

Amy Zanders has an enjoyable intaglio print entitled “Trough my Veins — a discourse of symbolic imagery and story telling about her life”. “Sunset”, is a watercolour by Diana Amos. It has an air of restful optimism: the golden yellow glow of a harbour view which is braced by a wall of violet hue. Her interest in Bermuda colours remains undimmed. Emma Ingham merges portrait and quotation in, Charmain. Unusually, she uses wood as the support for watercolour. She works quickly, describing the stately presence of her model with vivacity.

Charles Knights is exhibited alongside Chris Marson and is informed by the latter's technique. Importantly though, his work is original and not derivative. The sublime untitled watercolour is one his best. It is an architectural composition that could easily have become heavy. Instead he has a lyrical lightness of touch for describing the complex.

Jonah Jones's oil painting, “The Hull Truth and Winter Weed” is a balance of blues and orange in his seascape. Nikki Murray-Mason's, “White Hydrangeas”, is a layered piece of ceramic fragments and holds it own within the custom frame. There is an inherent danger that a frame will overpower the art and compete for attention beyond its function and this is demonstrated, I think, in the aforementioned pieces. Of course framing is as subjective in its interpretation as the art itself.

This show proves the limitless possibility creative framing design offers and how genuinely professional the results can be.

It is a testament to the quality of the design team at Frameworks, as well as the highly skilled framers who have decades of experience. Bermuda's caustic environment of high humidity and strong light can, and does, degrade pictures.

Especially vulnerable are works on paper where special measures are advisable to avoid costly restoration.

Quality framing goes further than aesthetics. It helps ensure a picture remains worth a thousand words for a lifetime.

The show runs at the Bermuda Society of Arts until December 10.

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Published December 02, 2014 at 8:00 am (Updated December 02, 2014 at 12:24 am)

A fine exhibition of local artistic talent

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