Gallery Wraps – Art With No Boundaries

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Art has always been subjective, so too is how art should be viewed. We have always relied on the expertise of Custom Picture Framers to suggest the perfect frame, or to select the best color combination of mat-board to enhance the art rather than to detract from it.

Selecting the right glass, or glazing, is even more challenging then you might think; non-glare, U.V. protective and clear glass are only a few choices. It may be common knowledge that exposing art to direct light will eventually cause fading, but perhaps a little less know fact is that in-direct light will also degrade artwork.

Recently, over the course of a few years, the concept of stretching printed art on canvas emerged. Printed art on canvas is referred to as a “giclee” print, which loosely translates to tiny droplets of ink. Almost immediately someone, origin unknown, created the concept of wrapping the printed image around a wooden frame while stretching it. This process is referred to as “gallery wrapping” and it is quickly changing the way we view art.

The artwork is stretched on a wooden frame and it is hung on a wall without the traditional wood or metal molding around it. Choosing the correct glass, decorative molding or coordinating the color of matting is a thing of the past. Custom Frame Shops are now faced with the decision failing miserably and have had to resort to other streams of revenue; “Gallery Wraps” have changed all of that.

The process starts with reproducing the artwork; this in itself has allowed artists the chance to re-create their original art at will. The original art is scanned with a high-resolution scanner, color-corrected and digitally “stitched” to allow for enlarging at a later date. The image is then archived and can be printed to almost any size when the artist wants.

The artwork would typically be signed, numbered and limited to a specific run. The original art, in most cases, would not be sold and the artist would issue a number of “artists proofs” which tend to have slightly more value than the other prints. The artwork is printed on archival canvas that resists fading caused by U.V light, it also has low acid content.

These archival inks actually allow the reproduction to outlast the original. The image is printed so that the image either wraps around the stretcher bar, or it is “mirrored” along the edge of the image. The mirrored edge is slightly more popular, but it can be a little more challenging to align the artwork during the stretching process.

After the image is wrapped around the stretcher bar, the canvas is held in-place with staples. The staples are not visible from the front or side, in this manner the artwork can be viewed as it should be, with no detractions. With no costly wooden frame, no glazing and no matboard, the artwork is but a fraction of the cost of the traditional frame and glass.

The concept of printing art on canvas and stretching it over a wooden frame is relatively new, but the concept of “wrapping” the image around the frame is very new and very popular. Clearly, this is the way artwork should be viewed and it is changing the industry.

Alan is a retired chef that took a keen interest in the art of stretching canvas. He realized that very few artists stretched their own canvas and that custom frame shops charged too much for this service. His current interest is improving on the methods for stretching canvas, perfecting the folds and improving on existing designs of wooden stretcher bar profiles.

Please visit Alan’s Corner for more information:

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