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PPG assists preservation of FRP outdoor sculptures by Luis A. Jimenez with automotive paints.

Friday, December 18, 2015 - 20:55
Leading automotive finishes company PPG Industries has enthusiastically joined with McKay Lodge Conservation Laboratory, Inc. of Oberlin, Ohio in establishing new methods and applications of their most advanced materials for repairing weathered outdoor sculptures by Luis A. Jiménez. The southwest artist Jiménez famously painted his colorful glass fiber and resin sculptures with automotive paints, finishing with an automotive clear coating. Many such works placed outdoors have deteriorated, requiring repaintings and recoatings by the artist and by others. Several of these “restorations” have also failed. Typically, deteriorations are in the form of cracking, disbonding of the clear coat(s) and fading of the colors. The artist Luis A. Jiménez died on June 13, 2006. Drawing from the huge array of coatings products PPG designs and makes for various vehicle performance requirements, including trucks, buses, aircraft and personal vehicles, the PPG technical team members are selecting the color base coatings and various clear coatings they feel will achieve the strongest bonding and longest coating life in high heat and bright sun environments as well as protection from abuse and vandalism. The PPG technical team has been given corporate permission to devote time and resources toward working with McKay Lodge, Inc. conservators in product use training, in selecting the best materials and advising on best practices to achieve the highest level of durability and protection possible for the painted works of Jiménez. PPG has been working out multi-stage treatment procedures involving existing clear coat overall reduction and surface preparation, a primer stage (for repaired damaged areas), intermediary clear coat, color base, a secondary application of an intermediary clear coating, and a final top clear coat. In addition, PPG puts emphasis on, and is selecting coatings for, the interior surfaces of the moisture permeable glass fiber and resin bodies to significantly prolong the life of the paints and exterior clear coats. A new top clear coat for Jimenez sculptures will be the most critical component for protecting the surfaces and colors of the artworks. PPG has made significant advancements in coating technology in the last few years with the newer coatings outperforming the older technologies by a wide margin. The coatings chosen by the PPG technical team represents PPG’s latest advance in fleet coatings technology. The premium PPG coatings were designed to provide resistance to sunlight, extreme temperatures, abrasion, graffiti and a wide range of fluids and chemicals. Work is currently underway with the PPG technical team at the McKay Lodge, Inc. sculpture facility on the Jiménez sculpture LOS LAGARTOS from El Paso, Texas. PPG has installed at the sculpture conservation facility an advanced color products bank and computer controlled weighing and mixing station for precision matching of original colors, including pearlescents, in small touch-up batches. Work on LOS LAGARTOS is expected to be completed by April 2014. When completed, the sculpture’s ability to resist fading and clear coat failure under the intense El Paso sun should be greatly enhanced.