Monday, 13 May 2013

Sculptural Framing

“I’ve always been very conscious of the distance between reality and the mystery within the painting,” Wallace considers. Visit the studio and you’ll see this fascination played out in many ways in the artist’s work, from perspective to the placement of everyday objects within compositions, to the exquisite frames around some of the works, created from found objects.

“I trained myself to paint like a Renaissance painter,” Wallace explains. “I paint in very thin washes of color, building layer upon layer upon layer, and glazing. During the eighties, I was in the midst of a journey of discovery within my work. The symbolism I was using had begun to evolve, and as such so had the objects I was representing. In turn, even the way I applied the paint to the canvas was changing. When I started working more aggressively past those traditional bounds, I found that the paintings themselves had become violent - they moved faster, the colors swam, the brushstrokes vibrated. They had begun to take on a sense of movement. They started to fly off the canvas. I kept wanting to focus attention back into the painting, but I didn’t want to mute the imagery. I felt they needed to be contained somehow, and I considered how I’d frame them. I started out by simply holding up pieces of wood up to paintings to see what would work. Nothing quite made sense. I decided to build something.”

Along one wall at the studio reside a series of three paintings created by the artist during the eighties. The paintings are stunning – visceral, throbbing with movement. They’re surrounded by huge, sculptural frames of knotted wooden branches which seem to claw out into the space around them.

“My works are windows, they’re portals. I think of these frames like guardians – they’re figures, or sentinels that are standing at a threshold. They invite you to cross, or not, from reality into the mystery of the painting.”

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