Announcing “Reflections with Connections”

Lowy’s clients and blog readers know that our artisans are renowned for creating masterpieces in traditional mediums, be it restoring an antique frame, crafting a replica frame or conserving a painting.

Last night, in a decidedly more modern aesthetic, Lowy debuted an exhibition of contemporary mirror frames by our own master gilder, artist and painter, R. Wayne Reynolds. This Lowy-exclusive exhibit, titled “Reflections With Connections,” will be on display through May 31, 2013.

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Historically, the mirror frame has often been designed to be “over the top” because it is free from the confines of the design of the painting or art it is presented with. “Reflections with Connections” takes a new look at the mirror as a decorative art object.

These mirror frames showcase natural elements with contrasting and harmonizing man made “frames” for the mirrors. Some are interactive and some are industrial, but all contain an unexpected combination of materials, including rare earth magnets, aluminum, white gold, handmade glass, vintage saw mill blades, polished slabs of Brazilian agates, petrified wood, handcrafted paper from Nepal, and a rare fabric woven from silk and peacock feathers, made in a small village in India.

This will be the third solo exhibition of master gilder Wayne Reynolds’ artwork in New York City. After graduating from the Maryland Institute College of Art with a BFA in 1975, he founded a company dedicated to the 500-year-old craft of gilding. From 1980-1984, he worked as a frame conservator at the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC, and was Head of the Gilding Department at Sotheby’s Restoration from 1998-2001.

“I’ve envisioned Reflections with Connections in my mind for years, so to see it come to fruition is quite a moment” said Reynolds.

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For more information on “Reflections with Connections” or any of the other pieces in Lowy’s inventory of more than 5,000 frames, please visit http://www.lowyonline.com or call 212-861-8585.

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The Cultural Heritage of Gilding

Gold leaf has been used to embellish objects serving significant social and cultural purposes for thousands of years. Foremost among this history are religious traditions involving gold. A plethora of gilded devotional objects and architectural elements were used in medieval Western religions, relying on the brilliant qualities of gold to signify the presence of the divine and to convey an aura of reverence.  Some of these, such as miniature icons and charms, were portable, while others, such as wall murals, carvings and spires, remained stationary. One example of a large architectural project is the Dome of the Rock, an Islamic shrine in Jerusalem. A landmark for Muslims and Judeo-Christians alike, the central dome is covered in gold.

The Dome of the Rock is embellished in mosaic patterns and gold. When the dome was refurbished in 1993, 80 kilograms of gold were required to complete the project. (image courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art)
The Dome of the Rock is embellished in mosaic patterns and gold. When the dome was refurbished in 1993, 80 kilograms of gold were required to complete the project. (image courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art)

Eastern religions have also been known to employ gold as a signifier and a narrative aid. In Thailand, statues of the Buddha are often gilded to literally convey religious text, which describes the spiritual teacher’s golden complexion. Buddhist visitors to a temple can show their devotion to the faith by applying their own piece of gold to a statue. Other times, Buddhist religious scripts are written in gold lettering.

Figure of the Buddha Amida seated on a lotus pedestal, made of lacquered and gilded wood.From Dairenji Temple, Osaka, Japan, mid 18th century. (image courtesy of The British Museum)
Figure of the Buddha Amida seated on a lotus pedestal, made of lacquered and gilded wood. From Dairenji Temple, Osaka, Japan, mid 18th century. (image courtesy of The British Museum)

In a secular context, gold symbolizes power. The material is seen in the Far East on objects including Chinese porcelain, Korean beads, Japanese screens, Indian armlets and Middle Eastern coinage. In the West, we have shoes, Italian armor, English bodkin cases, French brooches and dozens of other treasures befitting each national tradition. Teddy Roosevelt’s “Great White Fleet” boasted gold scrollwork on the bows of each of 16 functioning naval battleships.

Nowadays, visitors to the U.S. Capitol and other official buildings are greeted with an awe-inspiring onslaught of gilded ceilings, frames and column details. Many of the frames received conservation treatment from Lowy’s master gilder, R. Wayne Reynolds. Curators, art lovers and high profile clients have trusted Lowy Frame & Restoring Co. for over a century.

The next generation of Lowy: a framer is born.

Ben Shar, Brad’s son and Larry’s grandson, learns to burnish and gild at a demo by Wayne Reynolds.  His nursery school was here on a tour, and it was amazing how they responded!  Take a look through the photos and see for yourself.

The Lowy All Souls Tour

Architectural Digest Home Design Show

Ever wanted to feel a piece of gold leaf?  Or gild a frame?  Or watch as a conservator inpaints losses on a painting?  Stop by the Lowy booth at the 2011 Architectural Digest Home Design Show and these dreams, and many more, can come true!  This year’s show runs from March 17th through March 20th.  Lowy can be found at booth #436.  Learn more about the show here: http://www.archdigesthomeshow.com/

A Change of Taste Opening Night: a few select pictures

Continue reading A Change of Taste Opening Night: a few select pictures

A Change of Taste Makes the New York Times

Our exhibition made the Times!  Check out their article here: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/20/garden/20shows.html?scp=2&sq=lowy&st=cse.

But more importantly, make sure you stop by!  It’s not often that we have a frame exhibition, it’s a rare and wonderful show filled with some pretty gorgeous frames.

A Change of Taste: From the Gilded Age to the Craftsman Aesthetic

We’re having a frame exhibition!  I think we’ve had maybe only one of these before, so get on down to Lowy to check it out!

The details:  the exhibition will chronicle the momentous change of taste in American picture frames from the mass-produced ornamentation of the 19th Century to the elegant artistry of the Arts & Crafts movement.  Many of the frames on display are signed and dated by their makers.  The exhibit is made up of frames primarily from Lowy’s extensive collection, as well as extraordinary frames from the collections of Edgar Smith, The Gill & Lagodich Gallery, NY and Gold Leaf Studios, Washington, D.C.

The frames will be on display at Lowy, 223 E. 80th Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenues, NYC from January 24 – April 14, 2011.  The exhibition is open to the public Monday – Friday, 10am – 4pm.