Thursday, February 14, 2013
Patrick Gordon, left, and staff members James Hare and Andrea Sutton like to keep things fun around the studio.
Post and photo by Tony Martins
There’s a beef that I share with Patrick Gordon concerning the habits of some Ottawa art galleries: their increasing willingness to exhibit artwork that is unframed. Sure, quality framing takes time and can present a considerable expense, but for purists like me and Patrick framing makes an indispensible difference to the presentation.
Gordon has a stake in the matter, of course, as owner of Patrick Gordon Framing, but it is his insistence on quality and his ability to make good art look great that led, in part, to the recent Business Contribution award from the Council for the Arts in Ottawa (CAO). The award was presented to Gordon at the COA’s annual Sweetheart for the Arts event on Tuesday, February 12.
Another key factor in the award: the studio’s varied contributions to the Ottawa art community in the form of fundraisers, hosted exhibitions, donations, and the continued offering of affordable-yet-professional framing.
Gordon was not aware that his business was in the running for the award, but was very happy when notified.
“I was very surprised and I thought it was an honor,” Gordon said. “It was good to feel recognized for our continuous support of the arts.”
That continuous support means there are no shortage of locals offering praise for Gordon and his almost 10-year-old studio, including noted collector Glen McInnes, who became interested in Canadian contemporary photography about five years ago and has done all his framing at Patrick Gordon.
“The frame ought to be an integral part of an artist’s work, and not of the décor in which it will be placed,” McInnes contends. “When there are no specific specifications from the artist, Patrick, as a result of all the framing he does directly for artists, can convey an artist’s sensibility to the choice of frame.”
McInnes also appreciates how Gordon’s studio acts as a cultural hub in Ottawa.
“In each of the last three decades there has always seemed to be an individual or place that through their generosity of spirit brought otherwise disparate and separate circles of artists together into one single larger circle,” notes McInnes. “Dennis Tourbin did that with Gallery 101 and Patrick and his wife Jennifer, and his staff at Patrick Gordon Framing, have done that over the last couple of years.”
What are the underlying principles for Patrick Gordon?
“Our studio is very unique in that it works almost completely with original art,” said the proprietor himself. “We work with a large percentage of Ottawa’s artists, as well as many big art collectors. We also work with galleries ranging from very small up to the National Gallery of Canada.”
Gordon feels that the studio success is owing in part to the character of his staff.
“All of the staff at the studio are artists,” Gordon notes. “They also have a long history in the picture framing business. Combined, I feel that we are able to offer the right way to look after art. We frame in a way to let the art stand on it's own.”
Accomplished local painter Heidi Conrod has participated in a number of group exhibitions at Patrick Gordon Framing over the past decade and points out how the shows are “always an event, attracting interesting and fun people from the Ottawa art scene.”
“Patrick is a key part of the Ottawa art community,” adds Conrod. “He connects people, supports emerging artists, throws great openings and has an honest business sense.”
Conrod and McInnes agree that professional integrity is ultimately the strength that makes Patrick Gordon Framing worthy of recognition such as the CAO award.
“Trust is Patrick Gordon Framing's principal attribute,” said Conrod. “You can trust Patrick to do a great job, to give you his best ideas, and to price his services honestly.”
Currently Patrick Gordon Framing is supporting events such as the Ottawa Celebrity and Media Photo Contest but there’s much more community involvement in store.
“This fall the studio turns ten,” said Gordon. “From now until that date, we will be hosting a variety of art related events and fundraisers. Stay tuned.”