Irving Penn Exhibition: Paintings, at Hamiltons Gallery (London)
November 28, 2018 – January 26, 2019

“Pleased with the new freedom, I found inside myself accumulated forms, enjoyed arbitrary colour, the touch of the brush, the flow of pigment, the slowness and privacy.”

— Irving Penn, in his memoir, Passage

“Irving Penn: Paintings,” at Hamiltons Gallery in London, was the first ever show of the artist’s paintings in the UK.  Bark is proud to have framed these works for the exhibition, which included Penn’s lesser-known mixed media paintings on paper (from the The Irving Penn Foundation), collage-like in their structure of watercolor, pigments, ink, gum Arabic, and sometimes sand layered onto printed photographs. “Paintings” also included Surrealist drawings from early in Penn’s career.

Bark frame designer Paul Jordan created frame profiles and finishes for these dynamic works on paper. Paul designed a variation on the simple stem profile, adding a step on the outer portion of the face, to make a visual accent. While the frames created for Penn’s works were all different sizes, most were in the 20” – 30” range. The rabbets of the frames were made deep, to allow room for the artwork, glazing, fillets, backing board and strainer.

Paul worked with Bark Frameworks craftspeople, like hand finishing specialist Ferid Agi, to blend custom stains for the frames, which were finished with a pigmented wax. The final frames exhibited smooth, deep tones, mirroring hues found in Penn’s artworks.

Most of the works, nearly all of which were on Penn’s usual paper-faced aluminum panels, were floated in the frame on rag board. This made the hinging process a very careful one – testing archival adhesives and using Japanese paper hinges passed through the rag-board-faced Dibond back mats.

Penn’s multimedia pieces were matted in 100% cotton rag board mats of various warm whites; cotton rag board fillets were also used. The paintings and drawings were glazed with Optium Museum Acrylic. This archival treatment keeps the artwork safe, while the frame design remained understated, allowing the artwork to stand out against the dark walls of the gallery.

To learn more about “Irving Penn: Paintings” visit the Hamiltons Gallery website.
Images: © Courtesy Hamiltons Gallery.

Image 4: Paul Jordan