Arts & Culture

Art in the time of Covid — Wall Space uses tech to bring Nicole Allen paintings to your home

Like many, Patricia Barr had to make some tough decisions following the Covid-19 closures. The director of Wall Space Gallery had been preparing for an April exhibit by Ottawa-based artist Nicole Allen when the gallery was forced to close. 

“Nicole and I spoke in mid March about what to do about her show opening,” says Barr. Considering the many cancellations (and subsequent loss of income), they felt the gallery show, Renewal, was one that must go on. It would give Allen’s large-scale pieces a few weeks in the Westboro gallery and an opportunity for the artist to interact, virtually, with guests and potential buyers.

Nicole Allen’s work exhibited in Westboro’s Wall Space Gallery

In addition to hanging the work in a traditional gallery setting, Barr is using the occasion to help familiarize people with an app called Kuio, which helps people visualize how art will look on the walls of their own home. They’re hoping that people who are stuck at home might take a moment to try the tech — perhaps noticing a need for a little art in their space, and wondering if a piece like Allen’s Curative, below might brighten up a space. 

Nicole Allen, Curative, acrylic on canvas, 48 x 30 in.

Barr says it’s simply about downloading the app, printing the QR code, and taping it to a wall; by entering the exhibition number (609620), an image of the work will be generated. She demonstrates it in this series of photos:

Just four steps to a realistic image of the work in your home!


Here are the step-by-step instructions:
1. Download the (free) Kuio app
2. Open the app and either a) download the marker on phone and send to print or b) request marker to be sent to your email to print from a desktop (you can also print it here)
3. Tape the printed marker up on a wall
4. Open the app and enter the exhibition number (609620)
5. Browse Nicole Allen’s works and click on the artwork you’d like to see on your wall
6. Hold your phone in front of marker on wall — the chosen artwork will appear
7. Tap “screenshot” button in bottom left of screen to save an image of the painting on your wall.

There’s also a virtual exhibition, which launches April 18th and includes a YouTube video of the exhibition hung in the gallery.

Renewal by Nicole Allen runs until May 2, 2020