Sculpting visual poetry

John Frame's stop motion animation films of small-scale characters built from wood and found objects are visual poetic masterpieces. They explore the old questions of life such as where did we come from, what do we do while we're here, and what happens when we leave. Frame recounts his personal evolution as an artist to reveal the journey that culminated in the startling and provocative art he produces today.

Recorded at INK2011, Jaipur, India


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About the Speaker


John Frame

Sculptor, filmmaker, composer

John Frame has been making sculpture in the Southern California area of the United States since the early 1980s; his work has been exhibited extensively in the US as well as in Europe, Japan, and Taiwan. From the beginning of his career, he has undertaken an in-depth exploration of the human condition. Those who review Frame's work frequently suggest that its appeal lies in his propensity to probe the deep questions of life without arriving at easy answers. One critic captures this tension thus: “In Frame's work the meaning eludes us while the search for meaning captivates us.”

John twice has been the recipient of grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and received the New Talent Award from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. In 1995 he was awarded the J. Paul Getty Museum’s Individual Artist Fellowship. He received an Honorary Doctor of Arts degree from Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle in 2009.

A survey of the artist’s work was held at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 1992. In 2005 the Long Beach Museum of Art organized a retrospective exhibition, “Enigma Variations: The Sculpture of John Frame, 1980 to 2005.” In 2011 the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens, in San Marino, California, mounted a major exhibition, “Three Fragments of a Lost Tale: Sculpture and Story by John Frame” The exhibition consisted of more than thirty-five pieces of sculpture, a theatrical stage, multiple sets and a short animated film using the artist’s works that had been specifically designed for that purpose. Frame also created the score for the film.

His work can be found in more than 300 public and private collections, including the permanent collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Orange County Museum of Art, the Long Beach Museum of Art, the Palm Springs Desert Museum, the Renwick Gallery of American Art at the Smithsonian Institution, and the University of Southern California. In 2011 he was invited to guest curate an exhibition of rarely seen works by William Blake at the Huntington Library in San Marino, California.

Frame has been artist in residence, visiting artist, or guest lecturer at more than 50 museums, universities, and art-related institutions around the United States. He has also taught at the University of California at Los Angeles, Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, and at the Claremont Graduate University. He lives and works in Wrightwood, California.

In the year 2000, after working for more than twenty years as a successful sculptor, I found that I had arrived at what appeared to be the end of my exploration of my chosen territory. After five years of failed attempts to find my way into the next phase of my work, I finally gave up completely and hopelessly. Almost immediately, I was awakened in the middle of the night with a vision of a vast world complete with multiple characters, scenes and a complete “Tale.” My journey since that day has been to bring that world into this.

WORKS
Films: "Three Fragments of a Lost Tale" , 2011; "Happy Medium" Film, 2011
Books: Three Fragments of a Lost Tale: Sculpture and Story by John Frame, published by the University of California Press and the Huntington Press in 2011; EnigmaVariations: The Sculpture of John Frame, 1980-2005 published by the Long Beach Museum in 2005

WEBSITE
www.JohnFrameSculpture.com

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