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The Yowling Creation of John Frame

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The Yowling Creation of John Frame

Recently I experienced the yowling creation of John Frame’s “Three Fragments of a Lost Tale: Sculpture and Story” and found it both eerie and awe-inspiring. Housed in the Huntington Gardens’ Boone Gallery, it’s a phenomenal multi-disciplinary exhibition that mixes live installation, still-life photography, film, and marionette animation to convey shards of story that resonate with the rawest human emotions. For many, it could be called a spiritual experience.

The Yowling of John Frame: Mr. R in the Portico

The live installation is theatrical in nature. Curated as a black-box theater experience, visitors leave the sunny gardens and enter a trilogy of dark rooms with charcoal walls and only a few spotlights from above to highlight the players in the “Lost Tale.” Each mini-installation is encased in a glass box that sits atop its own black podium. Almost a voyeur, the viewer is so large in comparison and can feel a bit like God looking down on the finely articulated, near-human sculptures with movable limbs, joints, fingers, jaws, and eyes that are strangely life-like. They explore the meaning of life, death, good versus evil, and other metaphysical questions regarding suffering, relationships, and contemplation of the universe. Frame admits being driven to create what lies within him on an unconscious level and says the words of 19th-century English art and social critic John Ruskin embody his intentions well: “Fine Art is that in which the Head, the Heart and the Hand go together.”

The photographs rim the walls of the installation and provide another perspective of these same tailored sculptures of wood, glass, stainless steel, fabric, and found objects. In the still close-ups, the figures appear larger than life and are superbly lit to seem even more human. I had just seen the sculptures, so I knew they weren’t human but couldn’t help viewing them that way. The sympathy of The Crippled Boy, the penetrating eyes of This is My Body, the secrecy of Mr. R in the Portico, and the passionate curiosity of O-Man will keep you staring at the marvel of it all.

The Yowling of Creator John Frame: This is my Body

The Yowling of Creator John Frame: This is my Body

They drew me into Frame’s creepy fabricated world as a participant before I even realized what was happening. His painstaking attention to artistic nuance in the vein of magic realism brings to life a Frankenstein beauty. Further delving into deep human questions of the soul, the final black box is the intimate viewing room of two Frame films. One portrays the sculptures in a series of animated story made even more heart-wrenching by the haunting music of strings, also played by the very talented Frame. The second portrays the artist himself creating the sculptures, photos, and film. We see him in his artist’s den, at dawn and dusk collecting stones and other materials, and in his mountain hideaway hinging the figures with his wife by his side who stitches their fabric clothes.

There is little dialogue but what Frame does venture to say sounds profound and is all about his yowling and the Creator’s Way he has traveled to express it, which he says will probably take him the rest of his days to finish. “Three Fragments of a Lost Tale,” which sprang from the seed of an idea deep within a dream that jolted him awake, already has taken him years to create. Accompanying “Lost Tale” is also a related exhibition curated by Frame, which includes watercolors, etchings, and other works by William Blake–a major influence upon the artist. Illustrations from the Book of Job and Songs of Innocence and Experience will give you an idea of how Frame’s yowling started.

The exhibit only runs through summer and is included with regular admission price to the Huntington Gardens, located in Pasadena, California. As a performance artist, storyteller, and creator, I highly recommend that you check out Frame at one of his upcoming  exhibits. Click here to learn more about Frame and his creation: http://johnframesculpture.com/the-tale. It’s a spiritual experience of art that you won’t want to miss.

Have you experienced the yowling of creator John Frame? Post your thoughts…

One Response to “The Yowling Creation of John Frame”

  1. Hellen Ward says:

    Appreciated the share!
    Hellen

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