Pigment-additive interactions in synthetic emulsion materials and implications for the conservation of modern and contemporary art.

Lead Research Organisation: University of Leeds
Department Name: Sch of Design


Beginning initially with research into Conservation techniques. The cleaning and analysis techniques required for the contemporary/modern works of arts with synthetic acrylic emulsion paints. The process application of solvents/aqueous solutions on the surface of acrylic emulsion material developed since the 1950's. Comparative analysis before and after, using FTIR Spectroscopy. Secondly the visual analysis of different pigments, brands of the synthetic acrylic emulsions. Analysis of the artists methods from the application of the acrylic medium to the canvas. From the dilution of the acrylics to a thicker application. The depth of colour including loss of colour visually, microscopically and the application of vibrational spectroscopy, using FTIR Spectroscopy. How external influences affect the acrylic emulsion paints including temperature. The differences between heat and cold environments, how the humidity can affect the acrylic emulsion over time. The ageing with light (natural and synthetic), dirt, oils (handling of the canvas/paints) and air pollution. Would the use of damp conditions increase the development of mould or other microbiological factors. What additives can be used to incorporate the loss of these factors. The implication of these factors above will aid in the preservation of contemporary works of art using Acrylic paints. Using a variety of analytical techniques including Vibrational spectroscopy, SEM and XOS and NEXAFS. The application of UV analysis can affect the appearance and mimic ageing for comparative analysis of synthetic emulsions. Compare against real time analysis using natural light for the contrast in visual and chemical composition. Developing practical and theoretical knowledge of bulk analytical techniques using tensile analysis. The use of tensile analysis to determine thickness, endurance, flexibility and the resistance to weathering (in terms of heat damage) of the acrylic emulsion paints. The use of UV analysis for comparative uses from theoretically 50 years time to real time for comparisons. How additives with particular focus on surfactants that can migrate, dispersing and affect the preservation of the artwork. How this differ from each particular brand, analysis of primers, varnishes (gloss and matt) and mediums that alter the physical appearance and chemical composition. For in depth pigment and surface analysis. The chemical composition of the binders, primers and additives. How the interactions of the organic materials with the pigments could alter the previously mentioned to aid in the preservation of the contemporary works of art. Analysing organic pigments with FTIR Spectroscopy and PyGCMS to identify markers in order to build up a reference 'library' for comparative analysis of particular artists. Possibly; David Hockney, Jeremy Moon and Mark Rothko or another artists work of art, using the acrylic emulsion paint since the 1950s. In depth analysis of a contemporary painting using acrylic emulsion paint with the synchrotron at Diamond light. The X-ray beams would show up to 10,000 times information then some analytical techniques. New discoveries could advance the conservation field in the preservation of the modern/contemporary works of art. Recent art analysis of 1876, Edgar Degas' 'Portrait of a Woman' has unearthed some interesting work. Although this work of art uses the oil medium. It does draw reference to the chemical migration of lead. The application of the surfactants migration, the pigments and how this information would advance the conservation of contemporary/moderns works of art using the acrylic medium.


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