Plein Page

We were talking earlier about ‘’plein page’’ – French for full page. This is an exaggerated impression of what ‘’plein page’’ is. What we’re looking at here is handmade paper, much thicker than normal and with much rougher edges than normal. The artist, Pierre Marie Brisson, was influenced a great deal by the caves in southern France, where there are ancient cave drawings on the wall. If you look at this and you take the time to look at it properly, you can see that there is actually a figure seated in here. The paper actually lends itself to the rough walls that you would expect in a cave.

I want to highlight that. What I did is I raised the artwork. This is the equivalent of a painting on paper. What I did is I raised it from the back to in order to be able to create shadow lines. Now I’ve highlighted all the ragged edges of the artwork by raising it because that allows the shadows to form.

You then pronounce all the colouration that’s in there. The back matting is actually material that looks almost as if it were silk. It’s actually fine cotton and because the stitching reflects light differently underneath it because of the raised and lowered surfaces of the weave of the material. That makes the whites a lot flatter than it would be otherwise. This is what’s called a shadowbox framing, shadowbox framing meaning that the definition of the work is done by shadows. We’ve taken the same mat board that is in the background and created walls with the strips we’ve cut here. In this context they are three quarters of an inch pieces that we inlaid it on the side in order to separate the glass from the artwork and to give it room to breathe and to stand out.

To me this is a visual thing as well. The frame gives the art room to breathe and the ability to stand at an angle to the artwork and not only face on. By the way, that’s an important thing – a good work of art is particularly good that when you walk across it, it actually changes – you can see the differences because as you walk across the landscape or cross your room things look different. If a painting only works when you’re looking at it straight on, or an artwork only works if you’re looking at it straight on, in my opinion, that’s a failing. By walking across this, especially since it has all the texturing in it, you can see the texture as well as the definition lines of the art as created by the shadows. By having the glass further away you get the impression that this is actually just encased in a box. We used a lead based glass that has very low reflection, enhances colour and you can barely to see the glass.


Dictated by John Daniel

Atelier Daniel

4625 Avenue Wilson,

Montreal, Quebec


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