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Close UPs:

A deeper look at the work and workplaces of some of
the brilliant, creative people who we collaborate with.

Paul Jordan Bark Frameworks

UP collaborated with Bark Frameworks to create a number of frames for our Infinity House project to house photographic prints of various sizes. We recently sat down with Paul Jordan at their Long Island City studio for a chat about the fascinating world of art framing and why Bark Frameworks is a 100% employee owned company.

The idea of protecting works of art for the future – and finding an attractive way to present them – has always been interesting to Paul. What began as a way to pay the bills quickly became a passion and career. He found that he immediately enjoyed the multi-faceted aspect of the work – reacting to the art, consulting on a frame shape/finish, designing the frame to properly house the piece, and working with other craftspeople to see an idea come to life.

But what Paul didn’t expect, and what has kept him here, has been the history encoded into art framing: the regional styles and time periods; how those styles related to contemporaneous architecture (or directly out of the surrounding architecture). Bark Frameworks consistently references these histories, doing what they can to carry those concepts forward with their own interpretations.

We found this aspect of art framing fascinating! A specific form/shape of a frame can tell you when and from where, throughout history, the piece of art is from. For example, when re-framing a Rembrandt (which Bark Frameworks has done) they would replicate a style that is true to the 17th century Dutch style.

This is also true for the patina, gilding or painting on the frames. Other artists like Degas would sketch their own frame designs and Bark has found some of those original sketches and recreated them. Bark Frameworks reframed around 20 pieces from the Whitney’s permanent collection before it reopened.

Working alongside galleries, museums, auction houses and private collectors allows Bark Frameworks to see amazing things. They are often lucky enough to be invited to view private art collections that the public will never see.

And working with living artists is exciting for them as well – framing exactly to their specifications, or helping to develop and realize new ideas for the presentation of their work. It isn’t always about specific artists or artworks, but about the collaboration, and design challenges relating to materials and necessary structure.

Collaboration is at the heart of what we do at THE UP STUDIO. When we were tasked with curating the art and accesories for the interiors at Infinity House, Bark Frameworks fabricated a number of custom frames for us. We chose maple and walnut stem profiles (thin, flat face and straight sides) to house photographic prints of various sizes – the largest being about 50”x70”. We appreciated that after the focus on the design and overall appearance, their concentration is always on using archival and reversible methods of hinging (the least invasive method), and on making sure that all materials in the frame package are acid-free.

Bark Frameworks is three years into being an employee-owned company. When the company founder and president wanted to step down to focus more on his own fine art practice, he decided to sell the company to those who were most invested in its success: the company’s employees.

Since the employees are the owners now, they all share in financial gains or losses of the company and have even more of a vested interest in Company responsibilities and achievements. Each employee/owner plays an important role in contributing directly to the company’s successes, financial or otherwise.