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Desert Varnish

Shelley Brucar
NSNG

Layering of fabric, paint & mixed media; screening; monoprinting.

Desert varnish, composed mostly of manganese and iron, is the dark coating found on exposed rock surfaces in arid regions. One hypothesis of how desert varnish forms, which is gaining more and more supportive evidence, involves biological activity, specifically that of bacteria, over thousands of years. Native American peoples created petroglyphs by scraping away the dark varnish to expose the lighter rock beneath.

 

  

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Last updated November 6, 2014
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