“A Tabernacle for the Sun”: Framing Thomas Kegler

This is an oil painting by an extraordinary artist out of East Aurora, New York. Thomas Kegler (b. 1970) has very deliberately embraced the nineteenth century Hudson River School tradition, and it shows. We placed the 15″ x 30″ “Morning Has Broken, Psalm 19: 1-6″ in a 3-1/2” wide mitered frame in quartersawn white oak with Saturated Medieval Oak stain. The profile is basically our No. 134.1 but with a little carving. With the sight edge cushion repeating the gentle slope of the land, I saw fit to carve that element of the frame to also repeat the texture of the grassy hill. The fine quirk or fillet outside that carved cushion element picks up Mr. Kegler’s fine rendering, especially of the tree trunks. Another aspect of Kegler’s excellent rendering, the sensitive gradation of light, is served by the subtle way the broad flat of the frame curls up at the outside (that concave element complementing the convex form at the sight edge). A narrow 1/8″ slip with 23 kt gold leaf seems to reflect the sun. As a subordinate complement to the shadowy tone of the dark oak, the slip and frame together repeat the painter’s dramatic treatment of the most fundamental complement of all landscape paintings: light and shadow. Thos Kegler paintingLandscape paintings like this exemplify the deep understanding (made explicit during the Renaissance) that a painting is a window. And so the idea of a picture frame is to complete the painter’s window illusion by providing it with a window frame. When the design of that window frame is not arbitrary but alive to the landscape it was made for, the frame suggests an architecture in harmony with the land of which it is a part.

And when that land is viewed as a sacred creation, the frame, then, is not only a window but a kind of shrine—”a tabernacle for the sun,” to quote the Bible verse of the painting’s title.

Thomas Kegler’s website is here…

The artist has just been profiled in this article in the magazine Western Art and Architecture…

Thos Kegler painting

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