Picture This: Abstract Drawings
September 18, 2012
Have you ever thought about the way the paper fibers hold on to ink as you are writing down your grocery or to do list on a sheet of paper? Neither had I, until I listened to Kate Maynor, paper conservator here at American Art, speak about the examination and treatment of works on paper in the Abstract Drawings show. The type of paper and the kind of ink or paint applied to it affect the lifespan of the artwork. Understanding how media like ink, watercolor, gouache, and other materials will react over time to changes in light levels and relative humidity is part of Kate’s job. Using a microscope, Kate can peer right down to the fibers of the paper and detect early signs of potential losses or fading. She works at that microscopic level to stabilize flaking media before any further degradation can occur.
As part of the discussion, Kate explained how she consolidated some paint layers in a Charles Seliger drawing as well as how she was able to reduce distortions in the delicate paper for Branding by Claire Falkenstein. The choices the artists made (some over 60 years ago) for the type of paper and media they used all affect how the artwork will stand the test of time as well as the treatment plan Kate will use to preserve the artwork.
The Abstract Drawings exhibition is located on 2nd floor in the south wing of the American Art Museum. It will be on view through January 6, 2013.
Kate will give another talk Conservation of Our Collection: Abstract Drawings Thursday, September 20, 4 p.m.
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