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NEW! Art & Ideas: Conservation

Sherry Phillips, Conservator, Contemporary and Inuit Art

Wednesdays, November 12 – December 3, 7 – 9 pm (4 weeks)

Members $80 | Public $100

Register Now

Conservators care for the Art Gallery of Ontario collections and try to make sure that art objects are safe from accidents and the ravages of time -- they also fix them when things go wrong.

This workshop features a different AGO conservator each week. Hear about the restoration of key AGO artworks and talk with our conservators about their research and most curiously challenging projects.

November 12: Adventures in Contemporary Art
with Katy Whitman, Conservator of Photography & Sherry Phillips, Conservator of Contemporary Art

Explore the conservation of unconventional artworks.  Unlike the “classic” materials used in many forms of artistic expression, contemporary artists often explore and use modern materials to realize their ideas. The results are often innovative and exciting but rarely predictable. Join us for an evening of conversation about some of our more interesting challenges—from Polaroid photos to industrial robots, our work days are never dull and on occasion, may stretch conventional notions about an Art Conservator’s practice.

November 19: Oversized Works on Paper: Problem solving and preparing Richard Serra’s “Untitled” 1974 for loan
with Joan Weir, Conservator of Works on Paper & John Williams, Mountmaker

In 2009 the Paper Conservation Lab received a request to examine an oversized oil stick installation drawing created in 1973-4 by American artist Richard Serra. Conservator Joan Weir and Mountmaker John Williams will share the problems they solved by showing images and discussing the steps undertaken to examine, treat, mount, pack, ship and install/deinstall  this massive 9' x 21' drawing from the AGO’s permanent collection, which was loaned to three institutions. Participants will begin this interactive evening by making a mini model of the drawing which they can refer to as the presentation unfolds.

November 26: Unravelling History
with Sandra Webster-Cook, Conservator of Paintings, Historical and Modern & Maria Sullivan, Manager of Conservation

Understanding a painting’s structure and history as a material object is essential to any conservation treatment. Conservators rely on a number of analytical and imaging techniques to understand how a painting has aged and how it may have been altered by others over the years. These technologies often inform investigations into authenticity and artist’s working methods.  AGO Painting Conservators will discuss techniques such as ultraviolet fluorescence, infrared reflectography, and x-radiography in relation to paintings from the AGO’s Canadian and European collections and the exciting discoveries they have made.

December 3: A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words
with Tessa Thomas, Samuel H. Kress Fellow & Lisa Ellis, Conservator of Sculpture and Decorative Arts

AGO conservators are applying cutting edge technologies to understand and share fascinating details of artworks with our audiences. Join Lisa Ellis, Conservator of Sculpture and Decorative Arts, in a journey in which we will use micro CT scanning to virtually deconstruct miniature, Renaissance boxwood carvings known as Prayer Beads from the Thomson Collection at the AGO. Tessa Thomas, Samuel H. Kress Fellow, will lead workshop participants through the process of Reflectance Transformation Imaging: a new technology used to virtually re-light the surface textures of detailed artworks. Implications of these and other applied technologies will be discussed.

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