Tag Archives: Paintings

Why Are Some Paintings Under Glass? Glazed and Confused?

Many museum visitors are aware that a single drop of moisture can destroy a drawing, watercolor, gouache, or tempera but rarely consider how vulnerable they are to UV damage. Varnished oil paintings do not need this protection and therefore making it perplexing when we see one under glass in a frame.

As a trained curator, when I see a covered painting I see it as a major clue the work has either traveled between many museums or been loaned by one. 

Glazing is the term used by museums to indicate a painting is protected by glass or Plexiglas. Museums often ask for work that is going to travel a great distance without crating to be glazed. Crating is extremely expensive and can run into the thousands per painting.

Museum glass is not the same glass you buy at your local hardware store, but a special conservation glass that offers increased UV protection (99%) and reduces reflections. Glazing does not sit directly on top of an oil painting but sits over a mat or mount in front of the painting.  

In addition to providing impact protection, environmental extremes and physical damage, glazing also protects the painting from microbiological hazards, pollution, touching, and dust and dirt. 

According to The Tate Museum in London, “glazing is seen by most conservators and curators as a necessary evil and any advantages must be offset against well known disadvantages such as reduced visibility (including reduced light transmission, reflections, colour casts, distortions); potential breakage and damage to the artwork; additional weight, cost and labour involved; possible structural or aesthetic unsuitability of the frame; and other issues such as static, condensation and thermal instability.”

Occasionally, what we are seeing over a painting is not museum glass but museum grade acrylic. Often called by the brands most in demand, “Optium” or “True Vue” they are virtually scratch proof and nearly unbreakable, but much more expensive.

It’s rare to see a modern or contemporary painting glazed because so many have floating edges (called a gallery wrap) or are unframed completely. Paintings pre 19th century were not considered finished without their frame and never would have been displayed as such. It is much more common to see work from the 1800’s or earlier glazed.

Paintings under Glass - Uriél Danā at the Getty Museum
Photo of Uriél Danā by the fountain at the Getty Museum, Los Angeles, California

Thank you for reading this article.

For more articles on what galleries look for in an artist and other art eccentricities, please click through the links below.


Cover image: Painting by Mitch Griffith, Detail of “​ Man In The Frame”​

 

The Nude in Art & The Evolution of Consciousness

The nude has experienced as many highs and lows in the art world as a manic depressive painter. Tim Marlow in The Nude In Art explains, “For at least 30,000 years, humans have represented the naked form in a variety of ways.”

To the Greeks and Romans, the male nude was a symbol of physical perfection the body was capable of achieving. The female nude was more focused on the deities that birthed the world.

Colleen Barry - The Nude in Art
New York artist, Colleen Barry (b.1981)

The British, although prudish by nature, enthusiastically collected nude paintings during the Victorian era.

Inspired by the French and Internationalism of the Orientalists, even Queen Victoria bought nudes for her husband Prince Albert.

War often changes everything in the arts. The world moved through not one but two world wars.

After WWII, figurative paintings became associated with Nazi Art or the propaganda art that used Socialist Realist Art. Western Germany became repulsed by figurative work. The Nude went back into the closet.

Studying art history, I’ve noted a correlation between the nude in art with what is known as Skirt Length Theory. When times are financially difficult, skirt lengths get longer and art on the walls gets more prudish. When we are in a positive state financially and emotionally, we tend to feel more comfortable revealing extra flesh in our clothing and in our art.

The Nude in Art - D Jeffrey Mims
North Carolina born artist #DJeffreyMims (b.1954)

 

The Nude in Art - Daniela Astone
Italian painter Daniela Astone (b.1980)

Sadly, I’ve noted a pattern in censorship of the female in nude when women begin to become more empowered. Francesco Goya’s Nude Maja (c.1800) offended audiences not so much because his mistress was naked, but that she is comfortable in her nakedness. She locks eyes with the viewer completely unashamed to be seen in her birthday suit. A hundred and twenty years later we see police shut down a gallery in Paris when Amedeo Modigliani painted a woman comfortable in her body and her sexuality.

Now, yet another 120 years later, the London underground (as well as Hamburg and Cologne), have deemed the nudes of famous Austrian painter Egon Schiele too daring for his own 100 year anniversary celebration next year.

People sometimes ask why artists would continue to paint nudes when they “offend” people? Do they? In my article, How Social Media Is Editing Our World View On How And What We See, I go into more detail on how computer algorithms and moderators impose their own cultural or religious belief on their decision to remove posts, breaking European censorship laws.

Artists paint and draw the human form because there nothing more challenging than to do so. It requires great skill in anatomy, foreshortening, understanding skin tone, light and shadow. Every emotion is held in the human body and no one has the same face or body two days in a row. You could paint the same model every day for the rest of your life and it would be a new person every time.

The Nude in Art - Zack Zdrale
American artist Zack Zdrale (b.1977)

I think what history has taught us about knee jerk reactions to nudes is this: naughty or nice is a projection of our own self image. If we vilify the human body, how will we (or our children) ever feel comfortable in our own skin?

When we take something natural and attach shame to it, something bad happens. It becomes a shadow part of us and acts out inappropriately. We get people secretly addicted to porn, who do not honor boundaries, pedophiles and men in the workplace that act like Harvey Weinstein.


Featured Image: American Painter Adrian Gottlieb (b.1975) “Pasithea”.

To follow my Twitter feed on contemporary figurative art you can find me at Twitter.com/Uridev

Art and Buddhism

Tibetan Buddhism was introduced to the West in the 1960’s. It was significant for changing the pattern of keeping mystical knowledge secret.

This New American Dharma (a term coined by Llama Surya Das) began making available any knowledge that would help humanity empower itself spiritually. My own introduction to Buddhism began as a child when a sleeping disorder began a decades old practice of Tibetan Dream Yoga.

The tools of Tibetan Buddhism and The Ageless Wisdom are not new age. I prefer to think of them as “new edge”.

Many of these ideas are the foundations of quantum physics and Vajrayana Buddhism, commonly known as Buddhist Tantra.

One of the most basic yet profound truths of the ageless wisdom is “energy follows thought”. This has been rephrased many ways; thoughts are things, you are what you think about, you create your own reality, etc. Each of us is a vehicle for universal energy. This energy manifests itself as light and is formless. It is our thoughts, beliefs, and intentions that give that energy form.

Buddhism follows a slightly different formula; kindness in thoughts creates energy. If you add a sense of service to something larger than yourself, you’ve added the wings of intention.

As applied to making art, “the energy you hold when you create stays in that thing forever. You can make a beautiful painting but if you were angry when you painted it that is what people will feel when they look at it.”

I apprenticed as a painter for four years with the late Gage Taylor (d.2000) and we collaborated together for nearly two decades. As this kind of synergy is rare among artists, we were invited to travel as guests of the U.S. State Department former Arts America Program. We visited places with an anti-American sentiment and worked with hundreds of artists.

During this time, Gage Taylor and I observed impeccably painted work collect dust on walls, and we observed paintings rendered with unbelievably poor skill sell like crazy.Without fail, when we met the non-selling artists, they were angry at the world and felt the world owed them a living.

When we met a successful artist, we would encounted someone who was joyful, loved what he was doing, loved people, and was filled with gratitude. Each also had a sense of service to something larger than themselves.These two conflicting attitudes were manifestations of each artists power of intention.

“Intention” is what we have when we combine our desire with a sense of purpose, consciously or not, to accomplish a goal.

The more clear our sense of service, the more dynamic our intentions become.

The stronger the light coming through us becomes, the stronger the purpose, and the faster our thoughts manifest themselves.

When the conscious mind has one intention and the subconscious mind has another, we create whichever intention carries the stronger emotional charge.

Collectors can feel the artist’s intention in artwork. To stand in front of a painting in which the artist has mastered the “flow” allows the looker to feel in telepathic communion with that artist. (There is no word for this in English. In Sanskrit, it is known as the “rasa.”)

One of our galleries in Beverly Hills taught us this in what is now a humorous example. In 1987, Gage Taylor and I were enticed to move to Hawaii by what was at the time the largest grossing gallery in the world. Five days after we got there, our gallery was on “60 Minutes” for fraud! This gallery also had a year’s worth of our work that they would not give back.

We tried to keep to our regular painting schedule, stay out of fear, and not think about how living in the islands was like throwing money into a volcano. We always had more than one of our collaborative paintings going at a time and each of us worked on the work regularly.

There was one painting in particular that every time I would work on I would be thinking, “It’s really beautiful here, but can we afford it”?

When Gage was working on that very same painting, (unbeknownst to me), he was also thinking, “it’s beautiful here, but can we afford it”?

When the painting went to the gallery in Beverly Hills, several people who stood in front of that painting said out loud, almost in trance, “It’s very beautiful, but can I afford it?” It became such a mantra for that painting that our gallery called us to see what was going on? (This is where you go into a meditation and edit the script.)

Several months later, Gage and I decided to do a little experiment with the principles of success that we had so often shared with artists. Prior to this time, our collaborations were in Gage’s style and signed with both our full names… names recognized by collectors.

Combining both of our styles,we entered a major national competition in Bellevue, Washington. We signed this painting with the new name TAYLOR-DANA. A new look, a new signature, a new synergy was born. We were accepted.

The entire time the exhibit was up, we kept repeating to ourselves, “We really want this painting to sell in Bellevue, Washington”. Well, it did not sell until a few months after the show.

Only when a couple from Bellevue, Washington came to Hawaii on vacation did the painting sell. Even though they lived a few blocks from the exhibit! They had never seen our painting until they visited our studio months later!


Featured Image: Enlightenment & Purrsuasion, by Uriél Dana & Gage Taylor (died 2000). © 1999-2017 Uriél Dana.