The diverse world of art has a vocabulary of its own, and you can be privy to it even if you are no artist or collector. Here are some terms to bring with you to a gallery opening or an event like Art Fair Philippines, which opens to the public on February 16 and runs through February 19 at the Link—the experience is all about the details.
Abstract art vs. figurative art
Improvisation 27 (Garden of Love II) by Vasily Kandinsky and The Public Viewing David's 'Coronation' at the Louvre by
Louis Leopold Boilly
Think of the verb form of “abstract,” which means to remove or separate. This is what abstract artists do: They use a familiar object and separate it from reality. The object is not depicted in its original
Unlike abstract art, figurative art still has a
Some contemporary figurative painters that have their own monographs (books featuring the work of one artist, usually one who has current relevance in the art world) are Kehinde Wiley, Luc Tuymans, and Peter Doig.
Mixed media vs. multi-media
Portrait of Ralph Dusenberry by Arthur Dove
Mixed media is a work of art that uses more than one medium or material in a single composition. The combination can be various types of paint in one work. Some mixed media artists also combine modes of expression—such as drawing and collage—on a single canvas.
Multi-media, on the other hand, is a combination of technology and electronic media. For example, a multi-media piece may use video clips, still images, and distorted audio.
Still Life with Cake by Raphaelle Peale
The subjects of still life paintings are non-moving objects, which can range from fruits on a table and material pleasures such as wine and
Andrei Krioukov at work
The Pop Art movement emerged in the 1950s and 1960s as an artistic reaction to traditional highbrow art. The inspiration ran the gamut from pop culture and advertising to commercial objects. Andy Warhol is the most famous figure in Pop Art. His Campbell’s Soup Cans and Marilyn Diptych have been
SURFACES AND MEDIA
Acrylic on canvas vs. acrylic on paper
Before the City Gate by Yuri Yudaev and Barbara W's Shoes by
Acrylic is water-based, but it becomes waterproof once dry (and it dries fast). What this means is that hardened acrylic, which has an element of plastic, is insoluble in water. Manufacturers claim that this makes
Canvas, a woven fabric stretched and attached to a wood frame, is known to be more resilient than paper, which may get brittle over time. But paper does have an advantage for acrylic painters: When acrylic is thinned with water, it can look like or function almost like
Mountain Stream by John Singer Sargent and Classical Landscape with
Gypsies by James Wootton
The main difference between
In terms of
Some of the most famous oil paintings in history are The Scream by Edvard Munch and Girl with the Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer. Notice how opaque the
Negative space vs. positive space
Negative space is the area that surrounds the subject, while positive space is the area occupied by the subject. Think of negative space as an adjective—it gives definition to the subject in the form of strokes, shapes, and
Evening Calm, Concarneau, Opus 220 (Allegro Maestoso) by Paul Signac
What do art critics really mean when they use the term hue? The property of a
Wheat Field with Cypresses by Van Gogh. Swirly strokes are a motif in Van Gogh's body of work.
Some artists have a signature look or are subconsciously drawn to repeat elements. This is the motif—a pattern or theme that is repeated in a body of work.