Creative terminology

Sometimes art terminology can be confusing (i.e.modern art vs. contemporary), so we've created a list of many conventionally used terms as well as some specifically related to the work we show. Here's to getting it right (or trying to, anyway!)

Abstract: Art that is not representational and explores the relationships of forms, colors and textures.

 
Artists Books: Works of art created in the form of a book, often produced as one-of-a-kind objects, incorporating a variety of bound forms.

 
Assemblage: An artistic composition created using miscellaneous objects. 


Batik: A method of producing designs on textiles using dye after having first applied wax on the areas that won’t receive the pigment. 


Bisque Firing: An intermediate kiln process that dries and hardens soft clay thus preparing it for glazing. 


Calligraphy: The art of writing that uses various implements to produce a decorative hand. 


Ceramics or Pottery: Objects formed in clay and hardened by “baking” in a kiln. 


Collage: A composition created using paper shapes adhered to a two dimensional surface. 


Contemporary: Art that is being created during the viewer’s lifetime–the art of one’s lifetime.


Cradled Board: A rigid, three dimensional painting surface built with thick side supports that provides stability and won’t warp.


Diptych, Tryptych, Polyptych: Two, three or multiple panels of art that make up the whole.


Edition: Art created in a finite number of units.


En Plein Air: A French term meaning, “in the open air”;  an Impressionist practice of painting outdoors.

 
Encaustic: A painting medium using melted beeswax, resin and pigment.


Expressionism: Art created primarily to evoke subjective emotions rather than to portray the subject realistically.


Figurative Art: Generally referred to as a work of art that is a representative of a person or form.

 
Firing: Using a kiln to "fire" clay objects by "baking" an extreme high temperatures, making the hard and functional.

 

Fused Glass: Art that involves glass that has been fired in a kiln at a range of high temperatures. 

Genre: A type or category of artistic form, subject, technique, style, or medium.

 

Gestural: Painting and drawing using loose, sweeping strokes to expressively depict a form. 

 
Gilding: The application of paper-thin gold leaf or pigment to an object.


Glaze: Layer of liquid applied to ceramics that creates a glasslike surface once fired.


Hard-edge Painting: Incorporates areas of solid color with distinct separations or edges.

 

Impasto: Thickly applied paint that gives a three-dimensional surface quality to a painting. 


Impressionism: An artistic style that attempts to capture a feeling or experience rather depict its subject realistically.


Installation: An artwork that is created for a specific physical area, becoming part of the environment.

 
Kiln: A high temperature oven designed baking, or firing, of clay. 


Landscape: Referring to art that portrays an area of land. 


Letterpress: A relief printing process using raised letters, coated with ink and transferred to paper using pressure, usually with a press. 


Matte or Satin: A surface with a flat, non-shiny surface.


Medium: The material from which any given object is made. 
 
Modern: Art produced between 1870 and 1950-70; characterized by a rejection of representational art to more experimental and “abstract”.

 

Motif: Any recurring element of a design or composition. 

 

Mural: Imagery created directly on a wall or created separately and affixed to the wall.

 
Narrative: Art that depicts a story.

 
Non-Representational: Art that bears resemblance to the actual subject. 


Painterly: A style of painting which emphasizes the techniques and surface effects of brushwork.

 
Palette: The range of colors used by an artist in a particular work or typical of his/her style.

 
Pentachromacy: The ability to distinguish color using five independent channels rather than the typical three (as in humans).


Perspective: A mathematical system for representing three-dimensional space on a two-dimensional surface.

 
Photo-realism: Art that illustrates its subject in a photographic way, often seeming like a camera image.

Plasma Cutting: (Simplified for us right brainers) A method that uses a forced jet of ionized gas or hot plasma as the cutting mechanism.

Pre-Modernism: Abstract painting that is influenced by the styles and aesthetics of European painting from the 15th through 19th centuries.


Primitive or Naïve: Decorative art generally defined by simple colors and design elements.


Raku: Low fired ceramic wares characterized by iridescent glazes and rougher surfaces.

 
Realism: Art that depicts its subject as it appears.

 
Reclaimed: Disposed material that is acquired to reuse for a new purpose.

 

Relief: An image or design that is carved into a flat surface, creating a raised or “relief” surface.

 

Reliquaries: A receptacle for sacred relics.

 
Representational: Art that depicts its subject as it is, with few subjective interpretations.

 

Soda Firing: Using soda bi-carbonate during the ceramic firing which creates a unique glazed surface as the soda vapor is carried by the flame.

 
Stained Glass: Art created from flat glass shapes, assembled and held together by soldering. 


Still Life: Art portraying inanimate objects.

 
Surrealism: Art that attempts to express the inner workings of the subconscious often characterized by other-worldly illusion or reality.

 
Symbolism:
Art that uses alternate forms to express the meaning of subjective concepts like spirituality.


Tactile: Refers to objects, two-dimensional or otherwise, that appeal to the sense of touch.

 
Unique:
Referring to a single, one-of-a kind art piece.


Up-cycle: To restore an object to its original manifestation or recreate it as a new, improved one.


Woodturning: The shaping of wood into a symmetrical—spherical or cylindrical form. 


Wood Firing: Ceramic firing process that uses wood fuel to create the extreme high temperatures necessary to glaze the pot.

Art Works Gallery | 16N 100 W  | Cedar City, UT | 84720 | 503.810.0958 | artworkscedarcity@outlook.com