When treating sensitive traditional, modern and contemporary artwork materials, the degree of accuracy and the steadiness of heat transfer are essential to limit the invasiveness of the treatment, while achieving effective and safe consolidation of paint, treating planar deformations, cupped cracks, lining, enzymatic cleaning, and other treatments. Nina Olsson and Tomas Markevicius have been researching precision heat transfer in conservation and developing their innovative targeted treatment approaches that involve low-stress mild temperature heat transfer since 2003. In 2020 they founded Precision Mat, LLC as an innovation startup and open source research and knowledge sharing platform by conservators for conservators, to introduce and advance new approaches and targeted structural treatments of paintings and other cultural heritage assets made possible by accurate temperature management technologies based on flexible mats for precision heat transfer, coupled with other dominant contributing treatment factors, such as moisture content, pressure, and time. Since first introduced in 2003 by N. Olsson and T. Markevicius, precision heat transfer mats have been used in a growing body of diverse targeted treatments in paintings, paper, and objects conservation for consolidation, tear mending, treating paint and support deformations, optimizing drying process, activating adhesives, tape and laminate removal, water-based gel cleaning, enzymatic cleaning, treating fatty acid exudates and ever new applications continue to emerge.
Nina Olsson is a researcher and conservator of paintings in private practice established in Portland, Oregon in 2001. Olsson has worked on the development and application of specialized heat transfer methods for art conservation since 2003. From 2011-2014, Olsson held a research position at the University of Florence, Italy Department of Industrial Engineering, and co-led the IMAT Project, a research project funded by the European Commission, to develop an innovative new heat transfer device for the conservation treatment of cultural heritage objects that integrates cutting edge nanotechnology with the special demands of art conservation. Nina earned her B.S. in Art History and Studio Art from the University of Wisconsin, Madison in 1987. From 1985-2000, Olsson was active in Florence, Italy where she completed a 3-year painting conservation program at the Istituto per l’Arte e il Restauro-Palazzo Spinelli (1990), was in private practice (1990-2000), taught introductory courses in structural treatments in painting conservation at Palazzo Spinelli (1990-1998), and courses in the history of art restoration for the University of Michigan and Wisconsin Joint International Studies Program at the Villa Corsi Salviati. With experience on both sides of the Atlantic, Olsson is a regular contributor and speaker in the field in Europe and the US, with published research topics that range from the history of Italian restoration, conservation treatments of Italian 15th century to American 21st century works, to the development of new technologies and conservation treatment methods. Nina is also active in the recovery and conservation of New Deal artworks in the Pacific Northwest, and since 2018 a member of the scientific committee of the Florence Heri-Tech, a conference organized by the University of Florence on innovative technologies for cultural heritage.
Tomas Markeviciusis a conservator of paintings and contemporary art, and a Ph.D. researcher at the University of Amsterdam. His Ph.D. research in conservation focuses on the role of science and scientific methods in the authentication of modern and contemporary art. His past experiences include Marie Sklodowska-Curie research fellowship at the NACCA project at the Cologne Institute for Conservation Science at Cologne Technical University, and working as a painting conservator at Munch Museum in Oslo, and the National Gallery of Canada. He worked as a paintings conservator at the Stichting Kollektief Restauratieatelier Amsterdam, collaborated on free-lance projects with Dutch Cultural Heritage Agency and diverse conservation studios in Amsterdam, London, and Florence. He was trained in paintings conservation through postgraduate Fulbright Fellowship and Advanced Getty Internship at Intermusuem Conservation Association in Cleveland, preceded by a diploma in paintings conservation at Istituto per l’Arte e il Restauro Palazzo Spinelli in Florence, Italy. He studied Art History and Chemistry at a joint program of Vilnius University and Vilnius Academy of Arts in Vilnius, Lithuania, where he earlier graduated with BA and MA majoring in Art History, Visual Arts and Humanities. Tomas has been actively involved in conservation research, has published and co-authored publications in technical art history and conservation science, that among other topics explore new approaches to precision heat transfer, consolidation of unprotected matt surfaces, temperature-based optimization of enzymatic cleaning, non-contact cleaning using atomic oxygen. He is a member of the scientific committee of the Florence Heri-Tech, a conference organized by the University of Florence on innovative technologies for cultural heritage.