One of the world’s foremost framing experts, Keith Andrews, shares his advice on the best ways to maximize the impact of stylish frames for paintings, prints or photographs.
The first piece of advice that he has to offer is to match the frame with the picture.
Professional frame merchants will often take their cues from components such as dominant colours that are a stand out feature of photographs, posters or indeed any piece of artwork. They will match that component to the frame itself. For instance, darker hues (black and white photographs as an example) require a much more subdued approach to framing. The subject matter itself can also be a source of inspiration when selecting the correct frame. A great example is seascapes or a beach scene. This would require a classic rough wood with a whitewashed finish and jointed corners to highlight that subject matter.
His advice is also to be extremely careful when selecting a frame. The wrong choice can lead to a situation where the frame dominates the subject matter, rather than accentuating it (this can be the case with coloured frames). When in doubt, select a neutral frame. A modern approach is the use of perspex frames. It is transparent and reveals the artwork in its entirety. However, there is a proviso. The artwork must be able to stand on its own merits. When he frames works by Cornelia Parker he chooses box frames due to the fact that her work is abstract and conceptual – in cases like this the frame is purposefully secondary, allowing the artwork to shine.
An alternative approach is to use the frame to elevate the artwork to the status of a museum piece like using large picture frames to showcase an oversized print. This is especially true of pieces where the artwork or subject matter is interesting, for instance where a proud Mother frames her children’s baby shoes.
Modern posters or photographs can benefit from being dry mounted, a process that allows the artwork to be attached to the backing by applying heat. this process can be used to adhere the image to a wide variety of surfaces. Aluminium or Kappa board being just two examples. But care should be taken to match the material to the artwork itself. In Keith Andrews’ opinion Photographs can be striking when a walnut frame is used. It is a high quality and incredibly attractive wood that can be used in its natural state. It is also extremely versatile.
Selecting the right spot
Andrews also recommends that homeowners think carefully about light and how it reflects off the artwork. Both artificial light and natural sunlight can reduce the visual appeal of a piece of artwork. The solution may be to use anti-glare glass. It is also worth considering that rooms with high moisture conditions such as kitchens and bathrooms may not be ideal. Heat from radiators can also damage artwork.
He also says that perspective is important. Before choosing that ideal spot the homeowner should consider whether those viewing the artwork will be seated or standing. Corridors are ideal for ‘flat’ pieces whereas 3D artwork featuring fine textures should beset in alcoves where they are less likely to be damaged.
Selecting an overhang
The amount of oof space available is also an important consideration. In tight spaces, the ‘salon overhang’ is the best choice. This can be a great choice where unusual pieces are grouped together. He cites his own collection of love-themed pieces. The frames are a mix of styles. Modern balances with found frames sourced from second-hand shops. These frames may benefit from being distressed as this provides a depth of character. An alternative approach is to take the artwork to a professional framer who will be able to treat it so that it provides a ‘slick’ appearance which contrasts with a rougher frame.