School of Historical and Philosophical Studies - Research Publications

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    Artistic practices of the Bohol School of Painting: An analytical and archival study of nineteenth-century panel paintings in the Philippines
    Tse, N ; Jett, P ; Winter, J ; McCarthy, B (Archetype Publishing, 2005)
    In the center of the Philippines on the island of Bohol, a unique panel painting practice evolved linking western artistic methods introduced by the Spanish with Filipino knowledge of materials and techniques. The scientific analysis of five nineteenth century panel paintings belonging to the Baclayon Parish was undertaken and combined with an archival investigation of the Parish Archives to develop a better understanding of their provenance. Results illustrate the western construction methods used in the panel paintings with an oil medium as well as the utilization of local materials such as Kedondong wood for the panel support, cotton and bast fiber paper for a gap filler between the wood panels, and a transparent brown hydrocarbon for the ground layer. Some of the pigments identified correlate with the geological deposits from the region and others correspond with the archival church records. Other identified pigments were not referenced in the archives or found locally. The latter indicate the importation of high quality pigments, not of Filipino origin. Further, the good condition of the panels highlight their sound preparation and an environment suited for these particular works.
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    Southeast Asian oil paintings: supports and preparatory layers
    SLOGGETT, R ; TSE, N ; Townsend, J ; Doherty, T ; Heydenreich, G ; Ridge, J (Archetype Books, 2008)
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    Esteban Villanueva’sThe Basi Revolt paintings of Ilocos: Unlocking their material evidence
    Tse, N ; Balarbar, RA ; Esguerra, R ; Labrador, AMPTP (National Museum of the Philippines, 2020-11-01)
    The series of fourteen works that comprise Esteban Villanueva’s The Basi Revolt is examined historically and physically to have a clear idea of the paintings’ material authenticity, particularly necessary for conservation treatment. Among the questions dealt with involved the production and authorship, the extent of variation of the surface and paint layers, as well as the pigment types across all fourteen works. As The Basi Revolt is a series that depicts an important historical event in the Philippines, the course of conservation needs to be assessed as a whole, to reinstate a unified visual narrative. Methods used to attempt to answer these involved the examination of available historical records and the use of reflected raking and ultra-violet lights, microscopic magnification, and elemental analysis. To have a much stronger evidence-based understanding of The Basi Revolt, as well as of other early 19th century paintings by Filipino artists, setting up a database of the range of materials available and used during that time is essential for their conservation.
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    The potential role of citizen conservation in re-shaping approaches to murals in an urban context
    Kyi, C ; Tse, N ; Khazam, S (ROUTLEDGE JOURNALS, TAYLOR & FRANCIS LTD, 2016)
    Public visual spaces, populated by a blend of community murals, unauthorised street art, and historic painted mercantile signs, are often the mark of an urban environment that is both progressive and eclectic. Changes in the aesthetic and cultural value of these urban mural forms have led to an increase in the appreciation and, in some instances, promotion of their artistic merit and cultural significance as examples of public art. However, examining the significance of these works, with a view to implementing a conservation approach is problematic. This is due to a number of practical and theoretical considerations that are primarily a result of the ephemeral existence of urban murals outside conventional exhibition spaces, and issues associated with their often fragmented ownership and uncertain authorship. Consequently, larger thinking on the interpretation, conservation assessment, and advocacy for the conservation of urban murals are required. Key to defining and implementing such strategies is contextualising the public visual spaces that these murals occupy and, as part of this, the local and wider communities’ perception of these murals as culturally significant objects as well as fostering awareness and understanding of appropriate measures aimed at their conservation. This paper examines the role of citizen science, or crowd-sourcing, of local community members in establishing a conservation dialogue and generating conservation- relevant data on urban murals. It looks specifically at a project involving a collection of in situ historic painted mercantile signs — also known as ghost signs — in the City of Port Phillip, Melbourne, Australia. The project fostered the establishment of an informed and open dialogue between conservation specialists and participants from the local community on the significance of local ghost signs whilst transferring knowledge on conservation processes and assessment methods. Working directly with community members, a programme was designed in which conservation and community knowledge of these urban art forms, could be collected and exchanged across digital platforms. This enabled researchers to examine how citizen science can be utilised as a research tool as well as a means to advocate for the conservation of collections of urban murals. It created the opportunity to consider the role of non-specialists and shared authorities in the collection and collation of conservation- relevant data and how information generated from what we call citizen conservation projects, can inform the way in which conservators evaluate and prioritize the conservation of urban cultural heritage. The data gathered and interpreted proved to be the most effective means of ‘conserving’ these often ephemeral forms of cultural material.
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    Interviewing artists exhibited in The Field (1968): The use of acrylic paints in a seminal exhibition of Australian colour field painting
    Rajkowski, R ; Tse, NA ; Rozentals, B (ROUTLEDGE JOURNALS, TAYLOR & FRANCIS LTD, 2016-01-01)
    Artist's interviews are a timely and important historical record of the technical significance of Australian colour field painting. The findings correlate and corroborate ongoing conservation research into the works featured in The Field, providing evidence to support the take-up and distribution of early acrylic paints in Australia. Overall, the artists' responses demonstrate a range of working methods and choice of materials. Col Jordan and Alun Leach-Jones were found to be fairly consistent with their choice of acrylic brands and technique, while other artists, like Ron Robertson-Swann, were more flexible and experimental in their approach. PVAC (polyvinyl acetate) paints were used along with, or in place of, acrylic emulsion paints for practical and economic reasons, revealing the challenges involved with investigating acrylic paints which emerged alongside a variety of other synthetic paints. These interviews reinforce the value of conservation enquiry to the field of art history and exhibition development.
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    Artists’ interviews and their use in conservation: reflections on issues and practices
    Cotte, S ; TSE, N ; Inglis, A (Routledge - Taylor & Francis, 2016-12-21)
    Artists’ interviews are widely used in the conservation of contemporary art. Best practice is detailed in recent publications, conferences and workshops, however, there is little information on how to analyse the data collected, and the issues related to the dissemination and future access to the content. This article examines various techniques of analysis appropriated from qualitative research in the social sciences, and relates them to the intended uses of interviews in conservation. Drawing on a case study that involved interaction with an artist over several years, including interviews and informal conversations, this article argues that a conservators’ specific skills set has the capacity to interpret the findings and to understand the creative processes. It also highlights the importance of reflexivity and the public circulation of this interpretation, which is essential for the development of a sustainable practice of artists’ interviews in conservation.
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    Editorial: AICCM Bulletin 2018 Vol 39 Issue 1
    Tse, N (Taylor & Francis Ltd, 2018-01-02)
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    Editorial: AICCM Bulletin 2019 Vol 40 Issue 2
    Tse, N (Taylor & Francis Ltd, 2019-07-03)
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    Editorial [AICCM Bulletin, vol.43 no.2]
    Tse, N (Taylor & Francis, 2022)
    Dialogues around universal ‘best’ practices in conservation are challenging as are demarkations between the East and West, Europe and Asia, and the global north and south. Institutions, networks of care and materials conservation professionals have thereby struggled with ‘a long-standing epistemological debate about the nature of knowledge and expertise between dominant positivist and alternative non-positivist approaches’ (Beebeejaun et al. Citation2013, p. 2). What works in various geographical contexts is poised against an inherent tension between object centred and scientific processes, to those that are value based and socially situated alongside differences in institutional cultures, developmental histories and disciplinary leader’s foci.