The Art of Dorothy Cannon
The tempera stabilization project of September 2009
L-553, mounted on foam core
The 'tempera' paintings on this site are actually mostly acrylics, with a mix of other paint styles. What they have in common is brittle and fragile paper that has deteriorated over time. Many have major hunks missing from corners and edges, like the example above. Any handling -- even for the purposes of making the photos for this site -- risked further damage. With the help of an expert framer*, however, many of these paintings have now been stabilized, by mounting them to acid-free foam-core board using a low-temperature acid-free adhesive sheet in a press. In the mounting process the paper, adhesive, and backing board effectively become one. The paintings can now be viewed, handled, and worked with, without risking their destruction.
The example above was selected for its worse-than-typical damage, but like most is undamaged in the central image area and can be prepared for display by appropriate matting. The paintings are all about 18" x 24"; they were mounted to 20x32 foam core, which was left untrimmed, to provide support for the mat.
L-553 as it might be matted
The bottom line is that many of the temperas have been restored to the category of living and useful artworks. The success of the mounting process is total: there appears to be no effect on the paintings. I believe Dorothy would be astonished.
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* Many thanks to Marsha King of Framer's Corner, Prunedale, CA