Various media used in campus art galleries

By Amy Greenwood

Riderwood Resident

Have you ever wondered how an artist made a painting look a certain way or created a special effect? Perhaps you have heard the word “media?” There is the Media Room in Town Center and social media such as press or movies or TV.  But media in art is the materials the artist uses to create his or her work.

How does an artist choose what medium (the singular of media) to use?  Sometimes, it is what is most convenient.  Acrylics are more flexible than oil painting. An artist can use them thick and rich as oil or dilute them with water to create a watercolor effect.  Plus, acrylics are water soluble so that means it is easier to clean brushes and spills.  Other media are very difficult to use without much practice, others are very time consuming such as graphite or pen and ink, still others are very expensive.  A newer print making medium is giclée, a process that involves squirting microscopic dots of ink onto fine-quality archival paper or canvas.

In Exhibition VI, now on view at Village Square, there are sixteen different types of two-dimensional media on display.  There is only one oil painting, but there are many acrylics, watercolors, pastels (chalk), pen and ink drawings, graphite (pencil) drawings, and prints including giclée.  Several kinds of fabric materials were used, including knitted pieces, quilts, and even a hooking.  One piece is made of woven copper wire and another is constructed of wood and wire.  Several pieces are collages made of pasted paper and fabric and others are assemblages or constructions in which the artist combined various two- and three-dimensional materials. Within the two-dimensional art shown, are twenty photographs printed on paper, canvas, glass, and metal.   The material on which the photo is printed can greatly affect the impact of the photograph. It is often hard to tell a photograph from a painting.

Then, there are the three-dimensional artworks made of clay or ceramics, plaster, terra cotta, and glass.  Some are purely aesthetic; others are functional, and many are amusing.

Many artists like to experiment and try different media and styles until they find both a medium and a process that feels just right and enables them to fully express their creativity.  Next time you view the art in the exhibitions, you might take a second look at the way each piece was made.

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