timberland shoes men A brush with Kingston’s past
A painting in Kingston, once lost, is now found.
The painting turned up on an interior wall of a local business during renovations carried out by Bryon Springer, at Bath Road and Westdale Avenue the former site of a restaurant at the old Kingston bus terminal near the old traffic circle. A property manager made the discovery three weeks ago.
The signature on the piece was by Canadian artist Kenneth Holmden, who has work in the permanent collection of the National Gallery of Canada. The Springer family donated this specific work by Holmden to the Queen’s University art conservation program.
Thursday marked the start of their task, to safely remove the long lost mural.
The painting six feet tall and 11 feet wide isn’t in the greatest condition, making a great learning experience for seven of Queen’s painting students.
“It’s the perfect scale and degree of complexity for a beginner project,” said Michael O’Malley, the paintings and art conservation professor, who was guiding the recovery project.
First, the students assessed the oil painting to make sure the paint wasn’t flaking, and stabilized with temporary facing areas that looked vulnerable to damage. The second part of the recovery was to detach the painting, which is on cotton canvas, from the wall. Improvisational tools, such as metal spatulas and tacking irons, were used to peel back the canvas and carefully wrap it around an 11 foot sonotube.
All of this work was completed on a seven rung ladder at the construction site, with only a small ground spotlight lighting the area that had been gutted.
O’Malley said he deduced the painting was probably from the late 1950s to early ’60s. The age of the painting worked in their favour, he said, as over time adhesives dry and become brittle, making them easier to work with.
One of the students, Patrick Gauthier, was patiently waiting for his rotation so he could help recover the art.
“Conservators are required to know how to do this, but don’t often get to do it,” he said. “It’s pretty exciting.”
Kelsey Fox, a student viewing the work aback, said the hands on experience is widely different from the learning experience.
“Just hearing the dimensions doesn’t give you a proper appreciation for how big the work is,” she said. “You walk in and it can still take you by surprise.”
The large painting speaks to travel, depicting an early 19th or late 18th century Mediterranean port scene with fishermen unloading their catch at what is, perhaps, a market, O’Malley said.
Amandina Anastassiades, the artifact and art conservation professor, who was also guiding the project, said the recovery process takes around three hours. The students had already spent two hours in preparation work.
“To have the chance to go on site to do a removal is a unique opportunity,” she said.
Upon recovery, the painting will be stored for the summer at the University’s Art Conservation lab. Once class starts again in the fall, students will resume work on the painting.
After the full recovery is complete, Anastassiades said she would like to have the painting exhibited at either the Agnes Etherington Art Centre or the Tett Centre for Creativity and Learning but she has not reached out to the Tett Centre yet.
This piece is of community interest, “there are probably a lot of people still alive who remember eating at the bus terminal restaurant,” she said.
Springer also said he would like to keep the historical painting in the city.
“It seemed that the best fit was to donate it to the university to help them out with their art restoration program,” he said. “Hopefully, we can display it somewhere nice in the community so a lot of people can benefit from it that way.”
There is no fixed dollar value on the painting as of yet, but both professors said in agreement the educational and historical experience is value enough.