The term “shaped canvas” refers to paintings made on non-rectangular canvases, usually round or triangular. They can have much more singular forms whose surface is not even flat.
The use of sculptural stretchers has been associated with the work of the Minimalist and Post-Minimalist painters working in New York in the 1950s and 1960s, although other artists, long before the Minimalists, were already making works that were halfway between painting and sculpture.
The origin is the Tondo, a painting made on a round canvas, which painters have used since antiquity until today. This was the case of Michelangelo, Raphael or Jerome Bosh in some of their works. The desco da parto, a variant of oval shape, was also used by Ingres in the Turkish Bath.
Richard Tuttle, Barnett Newman or Frank Stella, pioneer of the minimalist movement in painting have each in their own way used shaped canvas and have perfected them.
The technical constraints posed by the realization of the shape canvas require the artists of structural, technical and aesthetic answers, pushing them to develop singular know-how. The artists realize themselves the frames which will be used to glue, cut, carve, pile up or coat the surface thus prepared.
The form represented is no longer conditioned by the plastic constraints imposed by the rectangular canvas but is realized on a support that is specific to it, thus making it unique and emancipated from the traditional constraints of painting.