Friday, 28 November 2008

GSK Contemporary

Adrian Parkes - Artist Surfaces

A week a go I had to go to the GSK exhibition to look at the large Antony Micaleff which we had stretched and framed. It had become loose and was sagging on the stretcher after only a couple of weeks, it was not that it had been badly stretched but rather suffering the effects of the cold damp weather. The painting was on linen which is extremely susceptible to damp (hygroscopic), had it been able to dry out it would have become taught again but was in the hall opposite the door and subject to the cold damp air.

The painting was on a John Jones stretcher which is not a fixed frame rather one with tight fitting interlocking joints which can be tapped together with a mallet, the stretcher has slots for wooden wedges in the corners and crossbars slots for tensioning it. We tapped out the wedges in the corners and cross bars rotating the painting working our way round the canvas being careful to apply even force to all the wedges as it is possible to knock the stretcher out of square. Wedging the stretcher out expanded it taking up the slack, the painting looked flat and pristine again. Whilst it is impossible to stop linen behaving like this it does illustrate the importance of keeping art work in a stable controlled environment and having a proper stretcher which can be adjusted in such away

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