Among our most recent projects for the Ford Foundation was this intense and provocative painting by the late artist Hugh Steers. We removed the artwork from its original stretcher, stretched it in on a new thinner one and then framed the work with a beautiful handmade, closed corner floater frame with splines (additional pieces of wood used at the corners to make a tighter joint) in a collaboration with Cedar Owl. The painting, “The Raft” from 1991, is an oil on canvas depicting a man in his underwear holding what appears to be a boulder or some other heavy weight, on a raft with a bag over his head. It evokes a sense of the ominous that is characteristic of most of the artist’s oeuvre.
Hugh Steers, "The Raft" re-stretched and in its beautiful new frame
Hugh Steers’ short career was influenced by and reflected the AIDS epidemic in New York City in the 1980s. Steers was born in Washington DC in 1963 to a culturally and politically influential family. His mother was the half-sister of writer Gore Vidal and a stepsister of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and his brother is the filmmaker Burr Steer. His Educational background included Yale and the Skowhegan School. In 1989 he was the recipient of a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Fellowship and his first solo exhibition. Steers died of complications from AIDS in 1995 at the age of 32 and a comprehensive monograph catalog of his works was published by the organization Visual AIDS in 2015. His work has been shown at the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Walker Art Center, and the Denver Art Museum.
Close-up detail of the splined corner on the maple floater frame
Stylistically Steers’ figurative compositions fall between Neo-Expressionism and realism. His subject matter is almost always young men in intimate situations - bedrooms, bathrooms, etc. - often with medical references. In later paintings, he represents himself as a figure in a white hospital gown. This figure is shown entering the lives of other characters as both an avenging and a guardian angel.
One of the painter's later works with figure in hospital gown & a photo of the artist himself (images courtesy of Visual AIDS and YAMP - the Yale AIDS Memorial Project)
Thanks once again to the Ford Foundation for their continued support of Frames and Stretchers and great art. As always the work will be delivered to their office by our partners at Art Delivery Van.
If you spend any time looking at the ground around Soho or the Lower East Side in New York City you’ve likely noticed drip painted portraits of rather dapper looking men in bow ties. These are the work of street artist Paul Richard, a Boston native living in New York since 1997. He recently had his first solo gallery exhibition in 5 years at 212 Arts in the East Village. A client who purchased a piece brought it to us for framing and we gave it a polished gallery look by floating the work on museum board with rice paste and mulberry paper hinges. The look was completed with a black frame moulding and museum glass.
The Paul Richard portrait framed in our studio
Richard works out of Greenpoint Brooklyn and has participated in the Greenpoint Open Studios. Apart from taking to the streets with his work he often shows in unusual spaces, for example his sold out exhibition at the Astor Place K-Mart. Richard is a quirky and enigmatic artist. His street art practice also includes a project he refers to as “Designated Art”. He places official looking gallery labels and plaques on objects in the world like tree stumps, fire hydrants and lampposts. He takes credit as the creating artist and often includes a price. Surprisingly, Paul is also an accomplished figurative oil painter. His paintings are often whimsical for example, men in tutus, but can be equally serious as with an official portrait for a local judge. His website features the diversity of his styles and work and also showcases his self-deprecating whit.
But it is his drip paintings that stand out as his trademark. The work we framed is also currently featured prominently as a t-shirt design on his website. A number of celebrities have commissioned his work including Christina Aguilera, Jay Z, Beyoncé and Justin Bieber. The Frames and Stretchers studio is often fortunate to work with artworks from many of the better-known street artists in the NYC community and it was great fun to have Paul’s work in the house.
Richards' recent portrait of Justin Beiber
It’s not everyday that Frames and Stretchers gets to frame the work of a well-known contemporary sculptor. The Ford Foundation brought us yet another exceptional artwork this time from Melvin “Mel” Edwards. As with other Ford Foundation art we framed the work, "Searching for the Balance", using a prime float technique - handmade mulberry paper hinges applied with rice paste to archival museum board. The look was completed with a black hardwood maple moulding. This large intricate handmade work is part of a group of paper pieces that Edwards has been producing along with his sculpture since the 1970s. The handmade paper background is embedded with the cut-out black tools and other figures.
Melvin Edwards' hand made paper work "Searching for the Balance" framed in the studio
Mel Edwards was born in 1937 in Houston Texas. He had his first one-person show at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art in 1965 and has since been honored with more than a dozen solo exhibitions and dozens of group shows. He has had solo exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art, the L. A. County Museum and the New Jersey State Museum in Trenton. His long and successful career includes having his works represented in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Houston Museum of Fine Arts and the L. A. County Museum among others.
Edwards' sculpture, "Steel Life" 1985-1991, showing his use of tools as materials (image courtesy of the artist's website)
His numerous awards include a Fulbright Scholarship to Zimbabwe and he currently spends several months each year working as a sculptor in Senegal. His art is heavily influenced by his African American heritage and he some of his best know works include his ongoing “Lynch Fragments” series of small scale relief sculptures. His style is semi-abstract and draws from the western Modernist tradition of welded steel. Edwards employs a variety of metal objects including hammers, scissors, locks, chains and railroad spikes for his raw material. Many of the works on paper, like the one here, illustrate these objects. When not in Africa he is based in New York City.
Edwards as young artist in the 60s with his relief sculpture and more recently in his studio (images courtesy of Alexander Gray Associates)
The Frames and Stretchers team is thrilled with our ongoing association with the Ford Foundation and many other stellar clients. If you find yourself on the Lower East Side, please stop by our studio for a visit to see what we do first hand!
One of our most recent project for the Ford Foundation included a thought provoking collage by a young artist from Hawaii, Clotilde Jiménez. We framed the work titled, “French Tip Lookin Ass” using a prime float technique - handmade mulberry paper hinges applied with rice paste to archival museum board. The framing was completed with a black hardwood maple moulding. This mixed media work is typical of the artist’s style. Jiménez often depicts male figures playing with gender boundaries and “French Tip” is reminiscent of other works showing boys or men wearing female accessories.
Stascia with the “French Tip Lookin Ass” framed and finished in the studio
Jiménez was born in Honolulu in 1990. His practice is currently based in London, where he is an MFA candidate in the painting department of the Slade School of Fine Art at University College. He has been awarded numerous residencies including the Nesnadny & Schwartz Visiting Curator Program from MOCA Cleveland, the Artist in Residence at Fljóstunga, Reykholt, Iceland and the Slade's London Intensive. He has achieved remarkable status for an artist so early in his career and his work is included in the collections of The Orlando Museum of Art and the University Hospitals, Cleveland, along with the Ford Foundation.
Two other works by the artist: "Fruity Boys" and "Self-portrait in Pink Underwear"
Jiménez, whose background is black and Latino creates art that celebrates marginalized peoples while simultaneously exploring the boundaries of race, gender, and sexuality. His work is subjective and stems from his personal worldview, but he strives to explore universal themes and what it means to just be as a human in our culture. It comes as no surprise that an organization like the Ford Foundation would support and collect Jiménez and his work. Their mission is one of inclusiveness and opportunity for all and he is an artist with a vision that is relatable for so many.
Artist Clotilde Jiménez spending time at an opening (image courtesy of the artist's website)
Frames and Stretchers, along with our partners at Art Delivery Van enjoy an ongoing relationship with the Ford Foundation and it’s always a pleasure to work with the high quality art they bring to our studio.
The Frames and Stretchers team is always excited to work with artists represented by Bryant Toth Fine Art, a Manhattan gallery specializing in Cuban art and artists. We recently stretched this painting on canvas by Aluan Arguelles from his “Sad Diamonds Series” for exhibition in a private Manhattan townhouse viewing being presented by the gallery.
The completed "Sad Diamonds" painting stretched in our studio
Aluan Arguelles was born in 1982 and studied at the Superior Institute of Arts (ISA) prior to a stint at the Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm. Arguelles is well known for his painting but has also worked in sculpture, installation, performance and video. He uses photographic references as a jumping off point for these works which capture a moment of reconciliation in the gray tones of black and white photography. His themes include the condition of “island” (geographically/personally), departure and arrival, meeting and farewell, beginning and end. He centers on the Cuban experience but address universal human themes. Arguelles began painting monotone images reflective of the cinema and newspapers of Cuba. The images are blurred as he explains, “The reason for the blur is to allow for the mixing of the future and the past. We're at one point now, but the past and future are both clear.” *
A work from Arguelles' "Atlas" series
“The Sad Diamonds Series" predates his experience in Sweden and a period of creating more colorful and loser compositions. More recently he returned to black and white and themes of Cuba and the island condition. The “Atlas” series combines painting and invisible ink. In an interactive experience the viewer illuminates the gray surface of the calm water to reveal the names of Cubans lost at sea while attempting to emigrate.
Cuban artist Aluan Arguelles
The townhouse viewing runs through August 27th and complete list of artists and artworks can be found on Artsy. Frames and Stretchers looks forward to future projects with Bryant Toth and his terrific roster of talent.
Frames and Stretchers has just finished a project for the legendary street artist Lin Felton a.k.a QUIK. Two of the pieces were works on paper and framed using the mulberry paper and rice paste hinging process. These works were “floated” on museum board, and then framed with simple clean mouldings and archival glazing. The smaller of the two is a great example of Felton’s imagery painted over a subway map with his usual cultural critique exemplified in details like the “I Love New York” graphic having a skull and crossbones where the heart should be. The larger is also a classic example of the artist’s style with the Felix the Cat cartoon character superimposed over a smiling lingerie model. The remainder of this project involved stretching a third work on canvas, then passing the art along to the Art Delivery Van team who transported it to its destination.
A "Felix the Cat" painting by Lin Felton/QUIK in the studio
Felton was born in in Queens in 1958 and rose to prominence as a graffiti artist during the artistically fertile 1980s. He emerged from the train painting culture and became one of a number of NYC street artists whose work was shown in galleries and museums. Graffiti artists of the period “bombed” subway cars with billboard scale colorful tags and murals in an attempt to outdo each other and achieve citywide notoriety. Spray painted words and simple cartoon style figures created instant impact and bore a resemblance to pop art style and themes. Andy Warhol, and other artists like Martha Cooper were instrumental in popularizing street art on a higher level. QUIK’s oeuvre includes graffiti writing as well as distinct images including: cartoon characters, stereotypically glamorous female figures and black figures. The faces he renders are highly expressive and his works display a blend of cultural critique and inner emotion.
Felton's painting on a NYC subway map
Felton attended both Pratt and Parsons School of Design. In 1982 he was spotted by Yaki Kornblit, a renowned art dealer in Amsterdam and he began to gain serious recognition internationally. His work was acquired by museums including the Groninger Museum and private collectors like Henk Pijnenburg. Felton has spent extensive time in Europe, perceiving the culture as more racially tolerant, but his style and spirit remain true NYC. It was an amazing opportunity to work with him and his art!
The artist Lin Felton/QUIK (image courtesy of WideWalls)
We recently framed a wonderful print from Brooklyn based multimedia artist Swoon. It came to the studio from a collector who had a number of new street art acquisitions. This particular figurative image was printed over a lovely purple, pink and green watercolor background and we framed the work with maple hardwood moldings, museum board and museum glass. The gallery style framing offered a sense of elegance in keeping with the artist’s seamless flow between street and high-art.
The finished framed Swoon print in the studio
Swoon was born Caledonia Curry in 1977 in New London, CT and received her BFA from Pratt Institute in 2002. During her art school years she began a street art practice (around 1999) wheat-pasting life size human figures and portraits to walls around New York and other cities. Her practice quickly developed to include large-scale installations of her cut paper imagery and in 2005 she was given a solo exhibition by influential dealer and curator Jeffrey Deitch. Deitch has subsequently become something of a mentor to the artist and numerous gallery and museum opportunities have followed including 2014’s “Submerged Motherlands” at the Brooklyn Museum.
The installation, "Murmuration" including a larger version of the image we framed
Swoon takes a humanitarian approach to her art and has worked on behalf of the reconstruction of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and Haiti after earthquake in 2010. She created a flotilla of rafts created from refuse and scavenged materials for the 2009 Venice Biennale. Over the course of several months in 2013 Swoon worked with youth from areas affected by Hurricane Sandy to produce a series of images appearing on walls throughout the city in hurricane affected areas including Red Hook, Coney Island, Far Rockaway, and Staten Island. The “Recovery Diaspora” series culminated in a Hurricane Sandy themed mural on the Bowery Mural Wall on Houston Street in Manhattan. Swoon keeps it real continuing to work with local community organizations, like Arts Gowanus in her borough of Brooklyn.
Mural from the "Recovery Diaspora" project on the Bowery Mural Wall, Houston Street
The image we worked with is an iconic figure in her work having appeared in installation form and serving as the centerpiece for the Bowery mural. It’s always exciting and gratifying to work with art from such amazing local talent!