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Diagnosing "Art Acne" in Georgia O Keeffe



A close look at a detailed section of Pedernal shows micronized metal soap protrusions. Georgia Okef. Pedernal, 1
941 Oil on canvas, 19 x 30 1/4 inches. Museum of Georgia O Keeff. Gift of Georgia Foundation O Keeff. © Museum of Georgia O Keeff. [2006.5.172] Yours sincerely: Dale Kronkart / Georgia Museum O Keeff
Even George O Keefe noticed that bubbles of size appeared on the surface of her paintings. For decades, conservationists and scientists have suggested that these small protrusions are sand beads blown out of the desert of New Mexico, where O'Keefe lived and worked. But when the protrusions began to grow, spread and eventually shake, people moved from curiosity to concern.


A multidisciplinary team from the Northwest University and Georgia O'Ceefe Museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico has already diagnosed a strange paint disease: Micronized protuberances are metallic soaps resulting from a chemical reaction between metal ions and fatty acids

Inspired by the study, the team has developed a new, handheld tool that can easily and seamlessly map and track artworks. The tool allows researchers to closely monitor the protrusions to better understand what conditions make projections grow, shrink or erupt. "Free fatty acids in the bonding environment of the paint react with lead and zinc pigments," says Mark Walton. Scientific Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at the Northwestern McCormick Engineering School, who led the study. "These metal soaps began to gather, pushed the surface of the picture and formed something that looked like acne."

"If we can easily measure, characterize, and document these soaps, again and again, with little cost for the museum, then we can look at them as they unfold," says Oliver Kosaiir, McCormick's Computer Science Scientist technological development. "This can help conservatives diagnose health and prescribe treatments for damaged works of art."

Walton, co-director of the Center for Art Research, Northwest and West The Academy of Sciences of the IAC will discuss the results of research and technology at a press conference on 16 February at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) at the Annual Meeting in Washington, DC

The Art Conservation Leverages Advanced Scientific Knowhow will be held at 9 am EST in Park A Park Marriott Wardman

Cossairt will present the study at a scientific session the following day.His conversation "Diagnosis of Disease Painting with Computer Science: The Case of Georgia O'Keefe" is part of the session "Medicine , computer science and art: learning h tech technologies "(from 8 am to 9:30 pm EST on February 17). , room 2, Marriott Wardman Park).

Northwestern University Professor Oliver Kosaier collects the superficial metrology of the "Ritz Tower" painting of Georgia Oye Keeff with a handheld device. Credit: Northwest University

The AAAS Scientific Session was organized by Francesca Kassadio, Executive Director of Grainger on Conservation and Science at the Institute of Art and co-director of the Center for the Research of the Arts.

Dangerous Disease

Almost all of Georgia's paintings have a degree of damage from forming metallic soap. While some of the cases of "acne" are in an early stage of development and can only be seen with ultraviolet images, others are more advanced and can be seen with the naked eye. Conservatives have restored some of the paintings where the damage is more pronounced, but the protrusions continue to return.

"The speed of deterioration is one of the most important questions of the study," said Dale Kronkart, head of conservation at the George Oye Keeff Museum. "There seems to be some connection between the number of travels of paintings to public exhibitions and the size and maturity of the surface destruction." The more times the paintings travel, the more likely the protrusions are larger and larger

Walton and his team at the Center for Scientific Research in the Arts are studying how quickly the process can progress by causing deterioration of metallic soap in surrogate paintings, and they have decades of detailed information from the Georgia O Keeffe Museum, the different parts that have survived during the journey and on display

"Once we have understood the environmental conditions in which they were located, what kind of relative humidity, what temperatures, whether they were on direct sunlight, then we can prescribe a particular environment with specific conditions that will allow art to survive for a very long period of time, "said Walton.

These discoveries can also be applied more widely than the masterpieces of O & Keeper.

"If we can solve this problem, we keep our cultural heritage for future generations," Walton said. [19599020] <br> <br>

From Science Fiction to Non-Fiction

Cossairt likens his hand instrument to Star Trek's "tricot." Show fans will remember that their favorite characters use the pocket size device to explore unknown areas, explore inanimate objects, and diagnose disease.

Instead of assessing human (or alien) health, the tool developed by Cossairt's laboratory can help diagnose the health of the picture. It uses the LCD and camera that are already available on smartphones and tablets. With plain waves on the surface of the picture, the application quickly assimilates the precise, 3-D surface structure of work or metrology. Then he can get the color of work to help researchers identify any deviations in the surface form that do not come from the brushes of the brush or the texture of a canvas.

"It's like a" tricorder "of measuring instruments," said Cossairt. "This can give you extremely accurate measurements, but it's also something you can just pull out of your pocket."

The application uses the light source from a mobile device – either the LED flash or the LCD – to reflect the light from the picture surface and capture those reflections with the camera. The image is then processed by custom algorithms developed by Northgate Aggelos Katsaggelos to extract surface shape information.

"We collect a lot of data in an effective and successful way, but then the data needs to be processed," said Katsaggelos, McCormick Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Joseph Cummings. "The technology uses machine learning to distinguish whether the texture is a soap or something good, like a brush, and then for the protrusions we extract statistics – density, size and shape."

Compare this manual device to the large, cumbersome equipment currently needed to map the metrology of the picture. The primary technique, called image transformation of reflection, requires a large dome of several light sources and an expensive setting. Few museums can invest in purchasing and maintaining such tools.

"We are trying to make this much simpler, much cheaper and more affordable to reduce the barrier to use," said Cossairt. of the National Fund for Humanities.


See more:
Experts try to keep George O'Kee picture of fading

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Northwest University


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