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VisionArt Galleries

March 23, 2009 By Gary Altunian

Click the images below for bigger versions:
Looks like a regular painting. But...
The paitning rolls up and reveals the flat-screen underneath.

The Fine Art of Concealing a Home Theater

It's no secret that flat-screen televisions are flying off retailer's shelves and finding their way into living rooms, family rooms and media rooms across the country. But even before they're installed, many homeowners are looking for ways to hide them from view when not in use.

After all, a large slab of black glass mounted on the wall doesn't complement the décor of most rooms. And let's not overlook the Spouse Acceptance Factor that often dashes the hopes of many home theater enthusiasts.

Enter VisionArt Galleries.

Homeowners, interior decorators and art aficionados are turning to VisionArt Galleries as a fine-art solution to concealing everything from projections screens and recessed video projectors to home theater components and flat-screen televisions. VisionArt is found in residential installations, hotels, conference rooms and other commercial applications.

VisionArt Galleries designs and builds custom art frames appointed with museum-quality prints on a motorized canvas that raises and lowers to reveal a television, electronics or virtually anything you want to conceal. VisionArt is used to hide wall safes, library shelves and even wet bars. VisionArt products allow technology into areas of the home where it otherwise would not be welcomed or even tolerated.

VisionArt Galleries

The VisionArt System

The VisionArt system consists of a metal back-box, outfitted with a picture frame and a motorized assembly that raises and lowers the artwork. The back-box or housing can be surface mounted or recessed into a wall depending on the type of components to be covered. Each VisionArt model is custom made in almost any size and can be designed to conceal nearly anything.

There are more than 50 pre-finished VisionArt frames to choose from. Dozens more are hand made from the Ren Wicks Collection, and can be fabricated from hardwood or leather to suit the décor of any room.

There are three galleries of fine art from which to choose. The Premiere Gallerie offers more than 300 limited-edition fine art prints, with each signed and numbered by the artist. The Asian Gallerie, inspired by traditional Asian partition screens, includes an artist’s seal, and the Décor Gallerie, consisting of unlimited edition prints, ranges in style from modern to traditional. The homeowner can also provide a digital file of a family photo or other artwork for the canvas.

The artwork is printed on the canvas using the Giclee process, a French term for "fine spray." The digital process sprays special ink with 512 shades and more than 16 million gradations of color onto a 100-year-old archival canvas. According to VisionArt, the resulting print is superior in quality to a serigraph or lithograph.

VisionArt Partnership with Triad Speakers

VisionArt is more than a visual system for concealing electronics and other furnishings. The company has partnered with Triad Speakers to offer two front speaker options for the VisionArt system.

Triad is widely respected for their custom home theater speaker systems. I have reviewed several Triad speaker systems and found them to be among the finest speakers for music and movie sources.

A Triad speaker system far outperforms the sound quality of the small speakers built into a flat-panel television. The Triad speakers are in a separate enclosure set inside the metal housing beneath a flat-panel TV and are concealed by the artwork and hidden from view with acoustically transparent black matte material.

The speakers are available in a two- or three-channel configuration for the front channels of a home theater system. A subwoofer and rear channel speakers can be added to complete the system.  

The VisionArt system comes with a wireless remote for raising and lowering the art print.  Its operation can be integrated with a Crestron or other automation control system so the entire audiovisual system is activated with the touch of a single button.

VisionArt Performance

VisionArt Galleries with Triad Speakers - Though visible here, the speaker drivers would typically be covered by acoustically transparent cloth, masking them from view.My review system was a Sony 42-inch LCD monitor with a Triad 3.0 speaker system installed in a VisionArt system, with an abstract Harry Gruenert print in a leather-bound frame.

The 59-inchwide by 50-inch-high VisionArt frame was designed for a much larger video display, but it clearly demonstrates the benefits of the VisionArt system. The motorized artwork moved very smoothly and quietly, and when the canvas lowered it was impossible to know that a television was mounted behind it.

Other components included a Yamaha A/V receiver, a Sony DVD player and a Canton subwoofer to make a 3.1 channel system.

Triad speakers are known for their exceptional sound quality, due in part to the high-quality crossovers and SEAS drivers.

My listening started with an Eagles concert, Farewell 1 - Live from Melbourne in DTS 5.1 channel sound, downmixed to 3.1 channels. The multiple guitars and the Eagles’ classic five-part harmony had excellent clarity and definition in the midrange and upper frequencies.

The Triad speaker system also had very good dialogue intelligibility in the DVD Collateral. This fast action story is about an innocent taxicab driver caught up in a law-and-order drama that leads to several crimes over a 24-hour period. On a critical note, the bass and mid-bass sounded somewhat tubby partly because the speakers are inside of the back-box, similar to the sound of a speaker placed in a cabinet or bookshelf.

Part of the remedy was setting the front speakers to small and allowing the subwoofer to handle the bass. Insulation placed inside the metal back-box might also help damp some of the resonance that caused the tubby sound.
Stereo separation was limited since the left and right speakers are only four feet apart, though in VisionArt installations with larger displays, this may be less of an issue. In a small room this would not be a problem, but for larger rooms a pair of in-wall or on-wall speakers would provide better stereo separation.

The Bottom Line

The VisionArt system is an elegant solution for concealing  a video display or other electronics and screens. It has strong appeal to homeowners, decorators and fine art enthusiasts. Displaying a work of fine art is one of the most appealing aspects of the VisionArt system.

The cost of a VisionArt system starts at $3,500 with a Décor Gallerie print, $9,850 with an Asian Gallerie print and $7,500 with a Premiere Gallerie print. Mostly commissions to the artist and the quality of the Giclee print drive the price. Each system is custom made for the client. As VisionArt points out, a signed, numbered print may be viewed as an investment and could possibly increase in value depending on the artist and the print.

The price of the optional Triad speaker system adds $2,400 for a 2.0-channel system and $3,600 for a 3.0-channel system.

I'm a home theater enthusiast and enjoy seeing the equipment in my system, but in many residential and commercial environments seeing the equipment in plain view is not an option. In these cases, the VisionArt system is a very refined solution and a tasteful way to display a treasured fine art print or photograph.

PRICE: Starting at $3,500; $5,900 with speakers
CONTACT: 866.432.4353, visionartgalleries.com


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