Technique and condition
The canvas cotton is of the flat duck type, supplied by Russell & Chapple. It has been attached to the stretchers by wire staples into the backs and then wetted to tension the surfaces. Attached to the four stretched canvases often with staples, are additional smaller shaped pieces of canvas, through which have been sewn a nylon and terylene rope, which have been tied off at the reverse of the main support canvases. Some ends of the rope have been burnt to melt the synthetic fibres together to prevent fraying.
The assembled, rope sewn canvases were primed with white acrylic primer, thought by the artist to have been Rowney's Cryla Primer, which has been applied to the surface and partially over the edges. The primer penetrates to the back of the canvas and around the rope in places. A layer of grey flame proofed scenic gauze was then laid onto the wet primer. When the surface was dry this gauze was ripped away from the main sewn areas and the canvas vigorously sanded down.
The canvases were then laid horizontally and a layer of resin was poured over the surface. The resin is Tiranti's Type 'B', a general purpose, clear mauve, laminating resin, with an addition of 10% thixotropic paste. This layer has run over the edges and soaked into the unprimed canvases in some areas. A second layer of the gauze is incorporated into the resin layer and torn away from around the suture areas. Small areas of aeration remain visible as highly encapsulated patches within the gauze. Studio dirt, including hairs and Gauloise cigarette ash have also been encapsulated in the resin. The resin was intentionally selected by the artist for its pinkish tint to create a flesh colour in appearance. The colour is now predominantly yellow, the pink tint only apparent in the thickest pools of resin.
The condition of the canvases and rope is good although the complex construction produces many distortions of the main canvases from a flat plane, particularly where they are penetrated by the rope. The resin is unstable and very temperature dependent. The long, meandering, branched linear cracks in the surfaces may have been induced by movement and impact of the cold, brittle film and moisture content changes brought about by a change in environment. The artist assessed that the cracks had not noticeably developed since he last saw the work in 1985 and he was not disturbed by the colour change.
The work is not framed.