In the Conservation Studio with William Christenberry

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Collections Care Manager Laura Tighe in the Phillips’s conservation studio

We were saddened to hear of the passing of beloved Phillips trustee emeritus and distinguished artist William Christenberry earlier this week. His work continues to resonate and impact in our galleries and beyond. Here, Collections Care Manager Laura Tighe is matting and preparing a microclimate frame for two color photographs by the artist. The works (“Bread of Life,” near Tuscaloosa, Alabama, 1989/printed 1995 above at left; “Church across Early Cotton (Vertical View),” Pickinsville, Alabama, 1964/printed 2000 below and to right) will be part of an upcoming solo exhibition in December 2016 at Maryland Institute College of Art.

The Last View of a Childhood Imagination

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Gustav Klimt, Birch Forest, 1903. Oil on canvas, 42 1/4 x 42 1/4 in. Paul G. Allen Family Collection

In the Seeing Nature exhibition, the Phillips invites visitors to contribute new, imagined conservation discoveries at our interpretive station, “Seeing Beyond the Frame.” For the month of March, exhibition-goers responded to Birch Forest, painted by Gustav Klimt in 1903.

Perhaps due to the poetic quality of Klimt’s work—the way shapes seem to shift from observed forms to an abstracted tapestry of patterns—or perhaps inspired by the recent poetry reading with Mark Doty and Aimee Nezhukumatathil, poetry abounds in this month’s responses. See more or share your own ideas with #SeeingNature.

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Inspired by the poetry of images in the exhibition, visitors have submitted a wide variety of poetic responses to Klimt’s Birch Forest.

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Seeing Beyond the Frame

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The “Seeing Beyond the Frame” Station in Seeing Nature, which invites visitors to contribute their imagined conservation discovery and a resulting new story about a work of art in the exhibition. Photo: Lee Stalsworth

As part of the exhibition Seeing Nature: Landscape Masterworks from the Paul G. Allen Family Collection, the Phillips encourages visitors to “see beyond the frame” with an interactive station focusing on conservation. In this space, you’re invited to learn about discoveries made while conserving works in the exhibition from the short videos playing in an adjacent gallery and peek into the part scientific, part detective work of an art conservator.

Each month, a different work of art from Seeing Nature is highlighted at this station and visitors are invited to create their own imagined conservation discoveries, explaining how their discoveries might change the known story about a work of art. From hidden underpaintings to long lost owners or artists, here are a few of our favorite creative submissions so far.

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Visitors to Seeing Nature have submitted a variety of contributions to “Seeing Beyond the Frame.”