The Balboa Art Conservation Center (BACC) is pleased to announce that Sara Bisi has been hired as Associate Conservator of Paper. Bisi started in early November, and will be responsible for the conservation, care and treatment of a wide variety of works on paper and paper artifacts. Bisi will also guide purchases of new equipment for paper conservation made possible by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation's Comprehensive Organizational Health Initiative grant.
Bisi comes to BACC with a diverse background in art conservation and collections care gained by working with both large institutions such as the Yale Center for British Art and the Harvard Art Museums and smaller regional centers such as the Williamstown Art Conservation Center and the Northeast Document Conservation Center.
Bisi most recently worked in Massachusetts as a consultant, providing both oversight and hands on treatment in conservation, collections management and preventive care of historic and artistic works, including the successful inventory and move of 2700 objects in an institutional collection within a three-month deadline. Prior to this she served as the collections care manager for the Harvard Art Museums where she oversaw preventive care for three distinct museum collections totaling over 250,000 objects. Bisi has also owned and operated a paper and photograph conservation studio. Her post-graduate work included a position as a research associate at the Yale Center for British Art and as the Craigen W. Bowen Fellow in Paper Conservation at the Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Studies, Harvard University.
Bisi holds a Master of Arts degree in Art Conservation with advanced study in paper conservation from SUNY Buffalo State College, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art History (with chemistry and studio arts minors) from Saint Joseph College, West Hartford, Connecticut.
Bisi says, “I am thrilled to join this warm and welcoming community and begin working with such a skilled team at a time of exciting growth and development of the programs here at BACC.”
BACC conservation staff have been busy soaking up and sharing valuable information at various conservation conferences and symposia this fall.
In October Assistant Paintings Conservator Bianca Garcia and Chief Conservator of Paintings Alexis Miller presented a poster on “Remounting Lined Paintings at the Balboa Art Conservation Center” at the Conserving Canvas Symposium in Connecticut. Former Chief Conservator of Paintings at BACC (now independent conservator) Elizabeth Court also contributed to the poster.
The Conserving Canvas Symposium was hosted by the Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage at Yale University and represented the first major international gathering on the subject since 1974, addressing historical approaches to the structural treatment of canvas paintings; current methods, materials, and research; and the challenges facing the structural conservation of modern and contemporary works. As part of the larger Getty Foundation’s Conserving Canvas Initiative, Morgan Wylder, Assistant Conservator of Paintings, attended a three-day intensive "Tear Mending Workshop" at the Getty in Los Angeles. Instructors were Petra Demuth and Hannah Flock of the Technische Hochschule Köln.
In early November, Assistant Paintings Conservators Morgan Wylder and Bianca Garcia participated at the Western Association for Art Conservation’s (WAAC) 45th Annual Meeting in Los Angeles, CA. Garcia presented “Cleaning a Jean Charlot Fresco with Gellan Gum - A Case Study,” and Wylder discussed “The Artistic Practice of Alfred Mitchell: San Diego's Favorite Painter.” WAAC is a nonprofit membership organization for professional conservators founded in 1975 to bring together conservators practicing in the western United States to exchange ideas, information and news.
BACC's Assistant Paintings Conservator, Bianca García, recently presented a talk on 14th Century Italian paintings at the Timken Museum of Art as part of its docent training.
Garcia spoke about the traditional materials and techniques used to create egg tempera panel paintings with gilded backgrounds, a technique that was common during that time. She also brought some of the materials and tools (like gold leaf and powdered pigments) to share with the docents so they could get an idea of what the pigments and layers of the painting look like before the piece is finished.
Learn more about the Timken's collection, here.
After a year-long conservation treatment of California Impressionist Edgar Payne's mural Settlement, the painting can now be viewed at the Laguna Art Museum for their exhibition California Mexicana: Missions to Murals, 1820 - 1930!
The mural was originally one of four, installed in 1935 to adorn the walls of the New Lynn Theater, which later became the Laguna South Coast cinema.
For more information about BACC's treatment, the exhibition, and the painting, see the great article written by The Laguna Beach Indy.
BACC's Assistant Conservator of Paintings, Morgan Wylder, presented her research on the materials and techniques of late-19th century French painter Paul Gauguin at the Musée d'Orsay, Paris. The two-day long symposium "Gauguin, le droit de tout oser" accompanied the opening of Gauguin l'Alchemist exhibition at the Grand Palais, Paris.
The Balboa Art Conservation Center finished an extensive conservation treatment of Belle Baranceanu's "Mission Hills," a 1930s landscape/cityscape of San Diego by beloved San Diego artist Belle Baranceanu.
In the before picture, you can see major paint loss and lifting and loose paint caused by acute water exposure on the right side of the painting.
For those interested in the care and preservation of digitally printed materials check out the Image Permanence Institute. BACC was happy to help facilitate a 2-day workshop presented by Senior Research Scientist, Daniel Burge during which participants learned how to identify and preserve the most common digital types.
Mellon Fellow in the Conservation of Paintings, Bianca Garcia attended the International Symposium for Paintings on Copper (and Other Metal Supports) in Valencia, Spain. The symposium was the first international forum to discuss the construction, technical examination of, and conservation of paintings on metal supports.
"The artworks are beloved by that community and the artwork was saved by that community" Dana Springs, executive director of the City of San Diego's Commission for Arts and Culture (in 2014) said, referencing the paintings, murals, and other work from Aztec Brewing's rathskeller now housed at the Logan Heights Library.
In the late 80s, a group of concerned artists and citizens convinced the city to take ownership of these historic pieces after discovering that the building that once housed Aztec Brewery, a former gathering place in San Diego's Barrio Logan neighborhood, was to be demolished. Decades later, the city received a grant to help with their restoration, and after months of work by BACC's team, they can now be viewed at the Logan Heights Library.
Browse the collection of articles below to learn more about the amazing history of Aztec Brewery and BACC's role in treating this collection: