A couple of months ago, Paul Roehl came by with an astonishing batch of new work, including this one, “Antonelli’s Pond” (2009 & 2020; oil on panel, 16” x 20”). Jessie and I soon realized that a show had fallen in our laps. The show’s called “The Poetic Landscape: New Paintings by Paul Roehl,” and it’ll be here in the gallery the whole month of October. We picked “Antonelli’s Pond” for the postcard (which is at the printer right now), so I needed to frame it.
The frame is basically a simple 3″ wide flat profile in stained quartersawn white oak, but I carved the inside and outside edges—the sight edge in a simple rhythmic pattern reminiscent of conventional beading that’s part of the common vocabulary of frames. Such conventions are often “dead,” arbitrary embellishments. But I adapted it to be alive to this painting, suiting it to the looseness of Paul’s painting style, and, more importantly, to respond directly to something in the painting: the shapes of the trees silhouetted against the sky. I added the pale gold liner to similarly silhouette and emphasize the flattened bead-like pattern. Otherwise, the frame is plain, flat and still as the surface of the pond. Its plainness also shows off the inherent beauty of the wood—the beauty of nature that was Paul’s inspiration.
Framing Paul’s work is always such a pleasure, in large part because the object of harmony that guides his compositions and tonalist-inspired palette makes harmonious frame design natural and easy. Also, what a frame does is deliver us to the picture, and Paul’s poetic landscapes are always places I want to go.
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