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Browsing the browser

The term “browser” is more commonly used in relation to computing these days, but for artists it will always mean one thing; the humble wooden structure that holds the products of our trade. Gallery browsers are designed to be discreet and unobtrusive, but they do their job of displaying a selection of artwork at a comfortable arm's length for the viewer just perfectly.

At Chalk Gallery we have three, all of which are fully stocked with recent works by our exhibiting artists. Maybe you have never paused to browse the browser at your local gallery. This article hopes to answer some questions and explore some misunderstandings about work in the browser.

What are you likely to find in a gallery browser?

Chalk Gallery provides a good example of this, as each of our artists provides up to four works covering a range of media. Our printmakers submit originals of their work, such as the linocuts by Sue Collins, Janice Thurston and Melissa Birch, and dry-card etchings by Joan Wilkes. Our painters often offer limited edition giclee prints of their paintings such as those by Nichola Campbell, Gabrielle Lord, Lyndsey Smith and Nicky Colbran. Some of our painters also work on paper, so we have original acrylic paintings in the browser by Andrew Milne, as well as oil paintings by Eva Wibberley. Currently we also have textile artworks by our Guest Artist Flo Snook.

Is the work in the browser less “good” than the work on the walls?

Not at all! Artists will choose to put their work in the browser for many reasons. The pieces in the browser might have a different feel or theme to the current display on the wall so need to be shown separately. The work on the wall might be bigger in size or on canvas so the artist chooses to use the browser for works on paper and smaller pieces.

Can you find a bargain in the browser?

Yes and no. As described above, the work is not lesser in value, but it will be less costly as the artist has not had to factor in the price of the frame. If you already own a frame or can access a frame at a lower price than the artist, then yes, you may make a saving.

Are there any other good reasons to buy from the browser?

You may wish to make your own choice of frame to match your particular colour scheme and style, so buying an unframed work will allow you more creative freedom. You could also find you have more artworks available to choose from. If a gallery has limited wall space there will be far more option and variety available in the browser.

Tips for browsing

Take your time to enjoy each artists’ particular style before moving on to the next one. Not all artworks make their first impression quickly. If you find an interesting piece feel free to lift it to eye level for a closer inspection. Have a look at the label on the back too so you know all the details of the artwork.

In short, if you don’t pause to look through the browser next time you are in a gallery, you may miss out on the very artwork you are destined to fall in love with. Go on - have a browse!

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