Traditionally, the edge of a canvas is not painted. It was probably easier to roll up this way or maybe it was just because the edges wouldn’t show under a big heavy frame. Frames have been optional for a long time. Modern work required a modern way of thinking about exhibiting pieces and frames seemed old fashioned, fussy and pretentious.
Today anything goes as long as it is in keeping with the work. It should not take away or contradict the piece and if you’re savvy (or lucky) it can contribute and reinforce the work.
I do a painted edge, I feel it finishes off the work in a slab o’ painting kind of way which looks great in a simple floating frame or on its own. I tried a solid grey for the edge of this painting, Shards – Point Alones (formerly know under the working title Point Alones Abalone) but it looked fake, like masking tape, too plain against the mass of detail on the painting. I knew I didn’t want to do more abalone as the scale was off but I was excited about employing the pottery shards again. It seemed to be the perfect accent for such a subtle focal point.
There are lots of ways to make a signature, and I’d like to think attention to details like this might be one of mine.