Where’s the Frame: The Online Gallery for the Youth by the Youth. Meet where’s the frame? the up and rising gallery that’s dedicated to giving a platform for new voices in art.
With the initiative of creating a space where new voices in the art can be uplifted, two art dealers (Gianina Ivodie and Maribelle Bierens) joined forces to create their online gallery where’s the frame? Recently, the gallery launched their virtual exhibition, ‘Like Nothing Else in the Universe’, which showcases 6 different artists, each from different nationalities and backgrounds.
The founders first met each other in Central Saint Martins, where both of them were doing their Art MRes. With both founders being under 30, it’s notable how young they both are to be running their own gallery. But prior to their journey in doing an Art MRes at Central Saint Martins, both Gianina and Maribelle have studied Liberal Arts and Art History respectively, while also having work experience in various parts of the creative industry including art spaces, design firms, and magazines. This ample amount of experience gives them the professionalism they now possess.
The idea of starting the gallery wasn’t something that was sparked at a sudden moment but instead an end result of the founders’ wish to create a space where both artists and art fans could interact with one another, “While studying at CSM, we were always surrounded by exciting art created right in front of us. Everything felt relevant, cutting edge, and fresh. We both were so thrilled to do something with it and to bring it to new audiences. But of course with COVID hitting globally, we were limited by lockdowns and regulations that eventually pushed us to just create where’s the frame?”
Owning and operating your own gallery sounds like a dream many young art enthusiasts might have and one of the key things Maribelle would advise these art aficionados is to build a strong community, “Find like-minded people, find artists, find collectors, and start a conversation. You don’t know how to design a website? Find someone who can do it with you. Don’t know how to create social media campaigns? Find a designer. Don’t overthink every aspect of it, or doubt yourself, just do it, find the right people, and wing it. The funny thing is that by far most things play out differently than you plan it anyway.”
Now one of the key factors that lead to people keeping their eyes on a gallery is the selection of artists they showcase, so what kind of qualities or traits of an artist or artwork catches Maribelle and Gianina’s eyes? “We get this question a lot and it’s hard to give a satisfying answer to it. It’s just based on a gut feeling and the process is often very intuitive. We spend hours and hours looking at art, do lots of studio visits, scout Instagram. A lot, a *lot* of research goes into it, but the final decisions are based on a feeling,” Maribelle reveals, “Do we find the work important, interesting, representative of and relevant to our times, refreshing?” In their latest collection, the two looked around for fresh talent right from where they bloom — degree shows and art schools. The collection showcases work from six different young artists that were all selected for their different stand-out points individually but all of them collectively create art that shows their unique perspective on topics that are currently relevant in the world.
Speaking of events that are currently taking the world by storm, Maribelle notes how much the pandemic has changed the art industry. Lockdowns and restrictions have forced studios, schools, galleries, and other art-related institutions to take a halt which led to plenty of artists and art-workers being laid off and taking a pause. Although the pause is something that has brought negative effects into one’s life, it also allowed artists to really take time to rethink and contemplate their art and what direction they’re heading towards. The pandemic has also led to the art world going online, “For us personally, the limits of the lockdown forced us to rethink the format in which we were going to present works online. We wanted to come up with a different way to discover and learn about art online. That’s why there is so much room for storytelling and pictures of the artist in their studio with the works. It offered something that an offline gallery usually can’t. And also, because it’s online, it’s public. So loads of people from all over the world can see and learn what a new generation of artists is up to.”
Ultimately, where’s the frame? aspires to be a gallery that uplifts and gives fresh new voices in art a platform, helping these artists by being a stepping stone for them to get discovered and reach new audiences. This coming year, the gallery plans on branching out to doing offline events, with hopes of also having their own offline space in the future. As Maribelle says, “There is nothing like a physical show, for your audience to experience art in the flesh, to let collectors connect with the artists […] As lame as it might sound, the possibilities are endless and we’re only getting started!” (Text Vanya Harapan)