May 21st, 2013

Chicago Cultural Center Exhibition

                                                        Ianelli Artwork

An exhibition that we worked on, extensively, has opened at the Chicago Cultural Center on Saturday, May 18th. It is entitled, Modernism's Messengers: the Art of Alfonso and Margaret Ianelli 1910-1965. It will run until August 27th in the Chicago Rooms at the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington Street in downtown Chicago.

Curated by the City of Chicago's Cultural Historian, Mr. Tim Samuelson, this exhibition is a collection of art and illustrations created by the husband and wife team of Alfonso and Margaret Ianelli. Working closely with Tim, we designed all the framing and matting for this exhibition. All the glass in framed items is Museum Glass and all the matted,non-framed items installed with exhibition "L" pins is OP3 u/v filtering plexiglass. There was quite a variety of works of art on paper to deal with, most of which were in decent shape and spanned 2/3rd of a century. Both the Ianellis were commercial illustrators who, eventually, met and worked with Frank Lloyd Wright, the architect. His influence is strongly felt in the stylistic changes that occurred after they began working with him.

Ironically, Margaret Ianelli ended up in the Elgin Mental Health Hospital, suffering from a number of mental health issues. She produced a vast array of artwork while there, some of which showing her OCD issues (repetitive drawing over and over of the same items).  I gained a fascinating insight into these two people working on their art and recommend that you stop in and check out the exhibition. 

Flanged-Lip Plexibox Framing Project

Mandible Framed Sculpture  Untitled 1 Framed sculpture






One of our clients, Ms. Miller Opie, creates some visually interesting 3D sculptural objects using organic and inorganic components or found objects of a natural origin. Shown here are two such sculptures. One is made from the mandible or jaw bone of some animal, maybe a deer, that has had some polished stones inserted where teeth once grew. The other is a split cow horn with teeth that has been pierced with a wooden dowel and held in place by windings of copper wire. 

When we were presented with these objects to work on, it occurred to me that we could display them in a plexibox. Our client wanted something that looked more finished than that, so I came up with a design I have used before that I find very attractive:  The Flanged-Lip Plexi Box. It consists of a traditional plexibox that has had an acrylic lip added to it all the way around the opening. The lip attaches at a right angle to the box's sides. This lip is hidden under the lip or rabbet of a traditional picture frame. It forms a clear, all-encompassing projection coming out of the front of the picture frame. It allows for being able to see the object from nearly all sides. While you can use nearly any shape or size picture frame moulding to surround the plexibox, our client wanted something small, black and very basic. We used a Gemini 2940 black cap moulding to do this. 

The most challenging part of this project was figuring out how to secure the objects in place while being minimally invasive. By that, we mean that it is important to secure the object without damaging it or permanently altering it, using removable fastening systems. As you can see in the case of "Untitled 1" (split bull horns), we used clear mylar bands that looped over the dowel and passed through a small slit in the C7519 Crescent White Linen mat board we used as the base. "Mandible" was held in place with a combination of mylar straps and off-white linen thread looped around the object. We did not use nylon monofilament (fishing line) since we find that it is very sharp and abrasive, and can actually cut the object being held in place over time if there is enough vibration.  Inside the "Mandible" box, the dimensions are 12 3/4 x 7 5/8 x 1".  The "Untitled 1" box is 14 1/2 x 17 x 3" inside. Check out the details:

Flanged Lip Plexi box detail  strap detail on Untitled 1













Mylar straps detail on rear of mat  mylar strap detail #2








Mylar strap detail #3




  Untitled 1 strapped down, not framed






Untitled 1 side detail 



Framing designed and executed by Brian D. Flax, CPF

Plexi-boxes fabricated by Showcase Acrylics

2 top photos by Miller Opie. All others by Brian Flax. All are shown by kind permission of our client, Miller Opie.


Photo Collage Framing Project for Lanvin of Paris

 We were contacted last fall by the project manager for the new Lanvin Boutique being built in Chicago at 116 E. Oak Street. She wanted to work with a local framer to print out and frame a collection of black and white photo images to adorn the walls of their new store. The images were part of their digital photo archives and they made them available to us to give to our printer from which to replicate. Once printed out, we framed them in a collection of frames mutually agreed upon and their contractor who was building out the store hung them. Everybody was really happy with our work.

Then, we were contacted again in March to do something similar for them for the second floor of the boutique (in one week!).This time, we were to frame a collection of photos in the same, matte black Gemini 2915 cap moulding with u/v glass (31 in all). I installed them over the period of a day and it all turned out really well. Check out the photos I snapped with my iPhone to document the process:

Left Wall at Lanvin Boutique,2nd fl. 

Middle Wall, Lanvin 2nd floor

Right Wall Lanvin 2nd floor 

Framing designed and executed by Brian D. Flax, CPF

Images shown by kind permission of Alexandra Ah-Tec, Jean Lanvin, SA, Paris

Framing a 14th C. Vellum with a 2-Sided Frame

In framing lingo, when you frame something so that it can be viewed from the front and back of the frame, it is called framing in recto verso. Dana, our shop manager, was asked by her clients to show both sides of an original 14th c. vellum parchment book page. She created this frame job with an Engelsen 2588 Antique Gold carved frame that has a glass size of 7 3/8 x 10 1/2".The mat used was Artique 4823 Acorn and the glass, on both sides, is Artglass U/V WaterWhite anti-reflective (museum) glass. The glass on the back is held in place by means of a glued-in black acrylic spacer. The art is suspended between two identical mats. The back of the frame has been covered with black paper as well to cosmeticize the unfinished nature of the frame's back face. Check it out:

                             Front Face of Recto-Verso Frame



  Corner Detail of Front Face RV Frame  Rear of Recto-Verso Frame

Frame designed and executed by Dana L. Fisher, CPF

Images shown by kind permission of Monique Eckelmann

Shedd Aquarium Presentation Frame

 Our client brought in two glass name plates that had been used, in an earlier era, at Chicago's John G. Shedd Aquarium at the Chicago Lakefront Museum Campus. They depicted two fish that were residents of the aquarium at the time. Once they were replaced with more modern signage, these went into their archives. They were brought out, this Spring, to be used in a framing project that was to be presented to a federal legislator from our home state. This legislator has been a benefactor for a number of Chicago's museums and was being built and presented as a thank-you for their kind attention. 

We settled on an American Walnut by Larson-Juhl in their Cranbrook collection, together with a blue suede mat with a black-core black liner mat underneath, and matching walnut fillets to surround the framed objects. White matboard was put behind the glass plates to allow for the viewer to read the copy painted on the glass. Anti-reflective glass was used as well. We had a plate engraved for this project that gives some historical background to the glass name plates of the fish shown. Here are a few shots, one of which is not fully in focus (my fault):

     Shedd Presentation Frame-Full face shot

                           Shedd Left Detail 

                           Shedd Detail #2

                           Shedd Plate

                           Shedd 3/4 profile photo

 Framing designed, executed and photographed by Brian D. Flax, CPF

 Images of this project shown by kind permission of Alisun DeKock, John G. Shedd Aquarium archivist

************************************************************************************************ Brian's Blog is our way of communicating to you, our valued framing clients (and prospective clients) what we are all about: Picture Framing and Framing-related services. That's all we do. Of the 67+ years we have been in business, we have spent the last 23 of them as a framing company. Over all those years, we learned that the customer is king and customer service is everything. So, we focus on the thing that we do best: Being the most innovative, experienced, service-focused picture framer in all of downtown Chicago.

For Questions or Comments

 As always, if you have any questions about anything on our website, or would like to make a comment about anything appearing in this blog, simply go to the contact us form and email us. Thanks for visiting.