The art of collecting

Submitted byJeeraik009 onMon, 08/08/2011 - 15:38


Jamaica lost one of it most generous art collector's today. Guy McIntosh the owner of Frame Centre Gallery and one of the finest collections of contemporary Jamaican art has died just a few months after making a major donation from his collection to the National Gallery of Jamaica.

Much about Guy McIntosh's early life predisposed him to Jamaica's modern art movement. He grew up in Westmoreland in a family already involved with woodwork, making furniture. Initially, he too learned cabinet-making in his adopted father's workshop, but once he came to Kingston in his late teens, he recognised that he could earn a living from framing art. Initially, he framed work for burgeoning collectors such as Dorit Hutson, Pat Rousseau, Vin McMorris and A.D. Scott but eventually the establishment of a small workshop on the premises of the newly formed Contemporary Art Gallery, meant that he would establish friendships and his own working relationships with artists such as Barrington Watson, and Karl Parboosingh, and recent JSA graduates Gene Pearson, Jackson Gordon, Cecil Cooper and Kofi Kayiga so much so that even after the CAG dissolved and he set up a workshop on Constant Spring Road beneath the studios shared by Barrington Watson, Keith Curwin and George Rodney, these artists continued bringing their art to him. The support of other collectors such as Maurice and Valerie Facey and a stint as Manager at Noel Ho Tom's HiQo Gallery finally encouraged him to re-establish his own business on a more formal setting with partners and a bank loan. In 1972, he incorporated the G. McIntosh Frame Centre, that would become the prototype of the Gallery and work shop later opened in Tangerine Place.

In the 1990s McIntosh occupied the whole building converting the upstairs into the white cube where most artists hankered for availability to show their work. Today, the Frame Centre still has the many invitation cards created to promote the exhibitions of David Shiw, Edna Manley, Kapo, Stafford Schlieffer, David Boxer, Robert McGill, Norma Harrack, Philip Supersad, the list goes on. Supported by his wife Charmaine and gallery managers Margaret Bernal, Normadelle Whittle, Pat Thompson Helga Navas-Marzouca the Frame Centre Gallery was a popular venue for exhibitions and McIntosh had a reputation for showing artists whose works were significant even if they might not easily sell such as African/Omara Ra's The Phone Rings, End of Homosapiens, n.d. shown here. Regularly these shows were hung by Guy McIntosh himself, since familiarity with their latest art works meant that he had already envisaged how a painting work might be best framed or how a sculpture or ceramic item might look in the space. Handling so much artwork professionally, McIntosh understood that it was possible fool the eye about the significance of a mediocre painting with quality framing but he also knew the marked difference between the work of an ordinary painter and that of an artist. This was the determining factor in how he selected art works for exhibitions and how he was able to build one of the finest collections of modern Jamaican art now kept for posterity at the National Gallery of Jamaica.