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Seeing in Different Ways: A Liz Magor Backpack Project
Seeing in Different Ways:
A Liz Magor Backpack Project

Why Paper Discolours (Part 2)
Why Paper Discolours (Part 2)

Why Paper Discolours (Part 1)
Why Paper Discolours (Part 1)

Mending a Tear in an Aboriginal Drum
Mending a Tear in an Aboriginal Drum

Distortions and Dimensional Changes
in Paper (Part 3)
Distortions and Dimensional Changes
in Paper (Part 3)

Distortions and Dimensional Changes
in Paper (Part 2)

Distortions and Dimensional Changes
in Paper (Part 1)

After treatment
Oscar Cahén: Innovative Conservation
for an Innovative Artist

Rigid Water Gels: New Treatment Options for Paper Conservators

Structural Remedies for Canvas Paintings

Organizing and Preserving Collections - Part 4: Digital-based Material

Organizing and Preserving Collections - Part 3: Photo-based Material

Organizing and Preserving Collections - Part 2: Paper-based Material

First Steps
Organizing and Preserving Collections - Part 1: The First Steps

Natural Dyes
The Use of Natural Dyes in Textile Conservation

A Relocation Project

Challenges of Preserving Contemporary Artwork

Preserve Your Investment through Art Conservation

A Project Completed: Heritage Preserved

Old and New Methods for Cleaning Paintings

I Can See Clearly Now – Or Can I? Part 2

I Can See Clearly Now – Or Can I?

The E.J. Hughes Mural: An Expanded Project

Is She or Is She Not an Emily

Treating Art with Sensitive Media

Malaspina Mural: An Update

For the Artist: Testing Your Materials

Conservator as Art Historian

Alum Sizing and the Art of W.J. Phillips

Treatment of an Elizabeth Keith Wood Block Print

Structural Treatment of an Emily Carr

The Treatment of a Monumental Wall Hanging

Changing Images

Preserving a Rare Record

Gold Leaf: Imitation and Genuine

The Case Against Canvas Backings

Heritage Colours: Research Discovers Original Colours

Lighting Your Art: Balancing Seeing and Protecting

The Double-Sided Emily Carr Painting

Choosing a Period Picture Frame

How to Identify a Picture Frame

Stretching Canvas and Restretching Artwork

Mounting Textiles

Aging Paintings:
Some Causes and Effects

Chine Collé Prints

What's Your Favourite Color?

Backing Removals

Rips, Holes and Tears

Filling in the Gaps

DIY – Preventative Care of Paintings

Frame it Right

Fire, Water and Smoke-Damaged Paintings

Inherent Vice

Saturated Problems:
A Water-Damaged Painting

Moldy Paper

Conserving Time

Conserving Paper: Dos and Don'ts

Repair of Textiles

Conserving Wood

Rescuing Endangered Murals

Repairing Acid-Matte Burn

Art Services & Materials
Exhibition Openings & Events

Conservation Corner Back February/March 2017

Seeing in Different Ways: A Liz Magor Backpack Project

by Cheryle Harrison

Liz Magor, KD-The Original

Liz Magor, KD-The Original (2000), silicone rubber cast, Kraft macaroni and cheese sprinkled on the floor Courtesy: Catriona Jeffries / Monecritsto Magazine

Art forces us to slow down and think about what we see.
—Liz Magor, 2009

Materials used for creating artwork are more than carriers for ideas or inspiring concepts; materials are links to an artist and how he or she connects with his or her artwork.

Liz Magor’s liquid silicone rubber casts of selected objects – like this old backpack – are observed, handled and shaped by the artist in preparation for her mold-making process. These casts are highly detailed, lightweight and flexible versions derived from a process the artist describes as “mimed shapes...of those things that have fallen down, and been discarded, and to find in them the allure they had when they were first picked up.” Her creations are imbued with a sense of the familiar and a transcendent quality that invites personal connections. The conservator presented with a conceptual work is a highly contemplative and exploratory task.

There is a delicacy to the feel and character of this silicone rubber backpack. It is a pliable form requiring support when handling. The interior of the backpack has been filled and shaped by the artist with a box of Kraft dinner, foam and bubble wrap inserted through a slit on the knapsack. Care is required to prevent the shifting of the interior filler materials and to protect parts of the backpack from folding or bending.

Unforeseen incidents occur no matter how careful one is. The backpack’s lower left corner had become detached and folded in areas, including portions of thin and slightly deformed silicone layers. The positioning and weight of the interior items has imparted pressure resulting in a few minor slits and separations. There were earlier unsuccessful attempts to repair the artwork using an adhesive that would not stick.

A challenge for this conservation project was to find an adhesive that would adhere, be strong enough and not harm the artwork. In preparation for repairing the backpack, comprehensive research into different options and adhesives, along with the fabrication of liquid silicone samples for testing different adhesives, was required prior to direct treatment on the artwork. An effective adhesive was sourced that could cleanly secure the detached piece in place, with an interior gusset to reinforce the area. Slits and separations were realigned and stabilized. All repairs involved careful handling and intricate handwork, as the treated areas needed to be supported when reattached, and cured in miniscule sections at a time.

Conservation projects require an analysis of how the artist worked, understanding the materials and processes used and assessing any concerns that relate to an artwork’s state of stability and condition. A key part of preservation work is the process of looking and evaluating prior to the action of conserving. This is how integrity and successful outcomes are achieved – look, think and look some more.

Previously: Why Paper Discolours (Part 2)

Detail prior to reattachment treatment

Detail prior to reattachment treatment


 Fri, Apr 21, 2017