HOW TO PROTECT ARTWORK ON PAPER AND NOT HAVE REFLECTION – Ask the Artsperts

by Juliana Meek and Kristine Meek

Dear Artsperts:

We’ve just moved into a condo facing the beach and we love having the view and the sunlight, but worry about damaging our artwork that’s on paper (watercolors and pastels) and we don’t like the reflection.

Is there anything we can do?

Signed,

Blinded by the light

Dear Blinded,

I have great news for you; there is a solution to your problem! The latest in acrylic glass is called Optium Acrylic Glazing, a product by TruVue (www.tru-vue.com). Unlike regular acrylic (often called Plexiglas), Optium Acrylic is UV protected,anti-reflective and anti-static. All acrylics are lightweight and abrasion-resistant.

Optium Acrylic is not cheap and not easily available. Most frame shops in town can special order a piece for you and Gregory Frame Shop at 3rd Avenue North in Old Naples keeps Optium Acrylic in stock.

A two-by-three-foot sheet of Optium Acrylic will cost about four times as much as Museum Glass. But if you have an expensive or important work, it is worth the price.

TruVue coats both sides of the acrylic sheet with anti-reflection coating; the result is a protected work that doesn’t look like it is behind any protection. Note the difference in the two works on paper photographed here.

The work on the left is a work by Gabriela Gonzalez Dellosso and is protected with the Optium Acrylic; the work on the right is a pastel by Richard Segalman and is behind regular glass. See the difference in reflection on the one on the right and also note the one on the left looks to not be covered at all.

Since regular acrylic creates static that pulls pastel and charcoal from the paper, glass has always been required to exhibit these static-sensitive pieces. Optium Acrylic is 2000 times less static than regular acrylic and ideal for exhibiting pastels.

Glass is also twice as heavy as Optium Acrylic and will scratch and shatter. Optium Acrylic is abrasion resistant – you can take a piece of steel wool to it and it will not mark – though at such a high price I wouldn’t recommend testing it! This makes it easier for shipping a work as it doesn’t require film or glass skin protection when shipping a work.

The product is ideal for works that are 40” x 60” or smaller, for shadow boxes, and any artwork that would benefit from reflection-free viewing. It also provides 93 percent UV protection – the highest protection today.

Cleaning Optium Acrylic is easy with ammonia-free cleaner and a soft cloth. Given that all the works in the art collection at the Loos Gallery at the Golisano Children’s Museum of Naples are protected in Optium Acrylic (all the Optium has been donated), the staff at C’MON canattest to the durability and easy cleaning nature of Optium. They can also tell you how the kids go right up to the paintings – putting their noses to the glass since they don’t see that there is any protection.

Now you can enjoy both the setting sun and your artwork!

Sincerely,

The Artsperts

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