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How are frames selected for art in galleries?


How to frame and gallery wrap for presentation in galleries


A question that has often been asked is, “What is the best way to choose frames for placement in galleries?” Should it be framed at all? Should the image just be gallery wrapped? Well, artwork is often displayed in a variety of different ways. Often, gallery images are displayed using both frames and gallery wrappings - neither is better than the other. However, both have their specific pitfalls, things to avoid during display that can make them look messy or unprofessional during display.





The first thing we should do is define what either thing is.


A frame isn’t just four individual pieces of wood that are pieced together to surround the outside of a piece of work. It is also a backing that gives the piece a bit of support and structure during display.


Gallery wrapping on the other hand is what happens when the piece is affixed and stretched onto stretcher bars. Yes, you can gallery wrap most pieces.


Frames are a very useful way to protect your piece. However, the edge of the frame is usually more delicate than the edges of canvasses. Keep in mind that the frame is more replaceable than the piece itself. Also consider that the frame is solid with plexiglass or glass and can keep people from touching the original piece - something that adds life to the piece itself.


It is very important to know when to frame a piece and when to wrap it. The question of when to do either of these includes many variables that should be considered. First consider the price; it is often cheaper to gallery wrap a piece than it is to actually frame it.


Only certain kinds of pieces can be gallery wrapped, however. First, you need to know which materials can be gallery wrapped and which cannot.


Work that can’t be gallery wrapped include Paper, Materials that can’t be stretched, wood, and board


Work that can be gallery wrapped include Materials that can be stretched, canvas, most fabrics-based materials, and linen


There is an option for those who have materials that can’t be gallery wrapped but wouldn’t like to frame the piece; you can always mount them


Next, we’ll go over the benefits of gallery wrapping. The first and aforementioned benefit of gallery wrapping is that it is the cheaper option. If you frame your piece you have to consider the costs of buying the frame, and you’ll want to get a high-quality frame as it is noticeable to most art appreciators when you don’t.





Gallery wrapping also adds a kind of 3-D effect to your artwork. It places emphasis on the fact that your work is an art object rather than just an image to be viewed. Not only that but it makes your work visible from all angles as the work will be wrapped around all edges of the stretcher.


What are the benefits of framing you may ask?

Framing is essentially a sort of signature style. If you use the same frame style to decorate a collection of different paintings, you create a style for yourself that differentiates yours from other artists' work.


Framing, in a way, adds value to your work. It adds a level of sophistication that other methods such as canvas wrapping may not. And in doing this adds a level of value to the people looking to buy your work.


So, how do you frame a piece of art?


There are a few things to consider when you’re framing a piece of artwork.


*It’s never a bad idea to get acquainted with a local framer, like us, who can help you out with your framing needs.


For instance, if you’re framing canvas that’s been stretched the frame you use must be wider than the stretcher bars. And in the same way, the face of the frame should be wider than an inch. If the wood is thin, it will oftentimes warp or break more easily in transit.


The decision to put the work that’s been framed in glass or not depends entirely on the materials that are used (the medium and the base materials).


For example, oil paintings need to breathe, so it’s recommended that they aren’t placed behind glass. You will sometimes see oil paintings behind glass framing in museums but that is because the museum is trying to protect a fairly old painting from dust and fingerprints. And also consider that the glass is placed very far away from the painting, or they are using a special variety of glass.


It is recommended, however, that works on paper are placed behind a special glass as this will help ensure that the image doesn’t receive any damage. This means watercolors, photographs, prints etc. Once paper has been damaged it is nearly impossible to reverse. It is for this reason that it’s recommended that works are matted when they are framed.


If you decide to use a glass pane to protect your work, you should be very careful when you pack your works to be shipped out. Always label the work as fragile and make sure to use acrylic or plexiglass as those two are far less likely to break than glass.


A frame is meant to enhance and compliment a piece of work, giving it a look of being complete. It should never distract the viewer. When you select the mat materials and mat you want to make sure you choose styles and colors that don’t distract from the artwork and blend in with it seamlessly. The person viewing the work shouldn’t spend too much time admiring it but should appreciate it.


Here is a tutorial for framing and matting your work





There you have it. We hope this helps and if you are looking for help with framing your work don't be shy - remember, we do that.

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