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The Sculpture of John Frame

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by LamontPaul, for outsideleft.com
originally published: December, 2004
Enigma Variations is a marvel. John Frame at his very best, poetic, dramatic and richly multi layered
Google John Frame and it's a disaster. One of California's most respected sculptor's is not an Internet star. Narrow the search to John+ Frame+ Sculpture and perhaps the most interesting online reference you'll find is the link to LAPD Chief Bratton's website, where two of John Frame's works have been listed as stolen and recovered. Actually, Chief Bratton's got quite a gallery going there. High Art Crime is another story, of course. We always imagine art theft to be more like a bad Guy Richie movie, all stylishly overcoated underweight men wielding plastic tire irons and barking in heavily-coached accents "'and ova the art ma sahn.." mock violence aforethought. All very sad facsimiles of a younger thinner Ray Winstone. As an artist, it must be a huge disappointment to discover your art has been recovered.Recovered? Doesn't that mean someone chucked it in a dumpster behind Albertson's or donated it to Goodwill because they didn't know what it was?

Surely the Artist must hope upon hope that their work never be recovered, that somewhere, a lonely high court judge, in a secret fur lined antechamber is gazing longingly at their ill-gotten gain, furtively caressing the frame while tears of pure joy well in their eyes.

Shergar was never recovered.

Conversely, John Frame combines 'found' objects with his often intricately crafted wood forms. He's like a latter day Harry Parch of the world of sculpture. Standing three feet away from his work, it's like introducing abrasive paper to your frontal lobe. The subtle impact of a setback. It's impossible to ignore.

Frame first came to prominence in 1985 when he received a "Young Talent Purchase Award" from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. He helped establish downtown's vibrant loft-life art scene in the late 80s, doing for artists what the American Hotel and Al's Bar (the CBGB's of the West Coast) was doing for musicians. In 1992, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art presented a major exhibition of his work, and in 1995 he was awarded an Individual Artist Fellowship by the J. Paul Getty Trust.

His new retrospective, Enigma Variations: The Sculpture of John Frame, 1980-2005, opens in January and runs until April, at the Long Beach Museum of Art. Including his seminal early 80s work and featuring over 40 pieces drawn from public and private collections. The show will also feature some of John Frame's most recent works.

Enigma Variations is the first of LBMoA 's California Visions series, exhibitions throughout 2005 celebrating the remarkable achievements of California-based artists.

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LamontPaul

publisher, lamontpaul is currently producing a collection of outsideleft's anti-travel stories for the SideCartel, with a downloadable mumbled word version accompanied by understated musical fabulists, the frozen plastic

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