Friday, April 8, 2011

Reframe/Rethink: "Windblown" Case Study

Lord knows, we're all facing challenges, these days.  And one piece of advice I've heard a lot is that when facing a challenge we should reframe--that is, look at the situation from an new perspective.

Indeed, on the "sister blog" to this one, Artdog Chronicles, I've been doing a fair amount of reframing as I study the problem of how to reform schools in the U.S.  If you'd like to see some of my metaphorical reframing, I have the first and second parts of my multi-part "Thought Experiment" posted so far.

But I also have been doing quite a lot of literal reframing: of my artwork, in the last few months.  And in art, as in other things, the reframing came as the result of a challenge.  In my case, the challenge was a wall: specifically a long, empty wall at the Leawood Pioneer Library that I needed to fill with artwork.

The Challenge: a large, empty wall at the Leawood Pioneer Library.
I have been privileged to participate in the "Art in the Stacks" program of the Johnson County (KS) Library (administered by the capable Sherry Bates), and in December 2010 I was slated to display my "Paper View" show there, featuring a variety of recent paper sculptures.

Treetop Primaries, 12X12", is my largest
paper sculpture piece to date.
The problem?  Paper sculpture of the sort I make is rather small in scale.  The largest piece I've made to date is the 12X12-inch Treetop Primaries.  Most of them are much smaller than that, usually 8X10s or 5X7s.  Some of the most recent, at the time, were even smaller.

A good example is Windblown.  I had finished the piece in August of 2010, and designed it specifically to fit into a small shadowbox I had purchased earlier that summer.  When it debuted in my "Work: In Progress" show at the Central Resource Library that September, the tiny 5X5" frame fit on a display shelf with several others.  I was fairly pleased with it artistically, but you couldn't say it had much "presence."
In its original, 5X5" frame, Windblown didn't exactly have a lot of "presence."
I knew it would visually disappear on that vast stretch of Leawood wall, yet I wanted to display it.  The situation clearly called for reframing.  I think it was my husband Pascal (formerly a professional framer) who suggested positioning it in the larger shadowbox as we ultimately did.  For an added bonus, the new frame allowed me to angle the piece as I had originally wanted.  Thus, the reframe brought it much closer to my original vision.
The reframe put the piece into the angled orientation I'd wanted all along, and the 12X12" frame showed much better on the Leawood wall than the 5X5" frame could have.  Windblown is the second piece from the right in the "Paper View" show photo at right.  Treetop Primaries is second from the left, the lower of the two pieces.
The reframe met the challenge: it made it possible for Windblown to make a positive contribution to the "Paper View" show, as well as be the centerpiece of the "3-D Art by Jan Sherrell Gephardt" show at the Antioch Library in February 2011, and stand up to the wall and the other pieces in the Westwood City Hall show in March 2011.

In both art and life, reframing can offer major advantages!

Note: All photos are by Jan Sherrell Gephardt, of her own artwork.

No comments:

Post a Comment