Inner energy, cosmic force

Untitled (Chakraman) is a rare example of Nepalese painting. Visually striking in its scale and colour, and rich with iconography, it illustrates concepts connected to Buddhism, Hinduism, tantric principles and yoga, while depicting a great number of deities and incarnations. The central figure is a yogi (male yoga practitioner) showing the inner structure of the body that presents…

Cleaning Ian Fairweather’s ‘Head’ c.1955

The cleaning of paintings is a fascinating subject. Changes in approaches to conservation practice mean that cleaning now often involves varnish removal. Traditional conservation practice commonly involves removing an old discoloured varnish from a paint layer and the changes are often visually dramatic. Natural resin varnishes such as dammar and mastic turn yellow over time,…

Couriers and Condition Reports: Matisse comes to Brisbane

Welcome to another behind the scenes glimpse of how an exhibition like ‘Matisse: Drawing Life’ is brought together. You may not see the conservation section at work during your visit to the Gallery, but we’re always there looking out for the wellbeing of the art works. For an exhibition like ‘Matisse: Drawing Life’ our practical…

Touring Ron Mueck’s ‘In bed’ is a monumental affair

The conservator’s public image is most likely of someone cleaning an old painting with a cotton wool swab, in a studio with classical music playing. However, art conservation — particularly contemporary art conservation — calls for an innovative and creative approach to the unique challenges presented by contemporary display preparation. Preparing fragile and complex art…

Secrets under Damask

A recent restoration was undertaken over four weeks to a parlour setting from c.1880 – 90s in the Gallery’s Collection, comprising a settee, two grandfather chairs and a grandmother chair. The setting is significant because it was constructed in Queensland from Silky ash (Ehretia acuminata), a native deciduous tree. My role as Conservation Framer is…