The Alexander Gallery

Dictionary of Art . . . M - R

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               M - R

- M -

Manipulated Photography
Any photograph that has been altered by any means. The attempt here is to enhance the effect of the photograph by further manipulation. This has been used as an art form since the mid 1970's. Some artists working in the medium are Lucas Samaras, Joel-Peter Witkin, and Deborah Turberville.
Matting is the most popular way to protect works on paper when framing. There are many companies providing a wide range of colors and surfaces in various grades from standard to museum quality. Mats are cut into frames to be put in heavier frames so the artwork will be protected from the elements and from any of the surfaces that might harm it.
Sometimes called body color. This is the hue that is seen when a pile of the paint is sitting alone.
A resin from the pistachio tree and is from the Mediterranean areas of southern Europe. In painting, it is used to the making of varnishes. It adds in paint manipulation and gives a glossy finish but will bloom, darken and yellow so is inferior to most other varnishes. It was used in the nineteenth century in a mixture called Meglip, but the paintings in which it was used were subject to defects. Not to be used as a medium
Maul Stick
A wooden stick of various length, usually about 2 feet, with a wooden or cloth ball at one end. The end is put on a dry section of the painting and the stick is used as a support, upon which the brush hand can be rested to steady the brush.
A relief printing method that reverses the engraving process. A metal plate is abraded with a special tool and is made to have an overall burr. It would print a solid soft black. The design is then made by smoothing the surface with a burnisher so that it will not print in the burnished areas. The name comes from the combination of the Italian words mezzo, meaning half, and tinta, meaning tone. This combination giving the word mezzotint, or halftone. This is the unique property of this method in that with varying degrees of burnishing, different degrees of darkness can be achieved. The main drawbacks to this method is the lack of fine detail and the labor of preparing the steel plate.
Mineral Spirits
See Oil Painting page, Mediums, Varnishes, and Solvents
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- N -

Naive Art
Artwork that is produced by artists without formal training. Probably the best-known artist of this type is Grandma Moses. The style is generally childlike and innocent, but will have an unusual sensitive touch and a natural understanding of composition and spatial organization. This style should not be confused with folk art. Folk art contains functional forms that are specific to a culture.
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- O -

Oil of Cloves
From the blossoms of the clove tree. Very light in hue. The darker comes from the branches. For painting, it is used to make oil painting mediums. It is very slow drying and should be used sparingly in "alla prima" techniques. It is sometimes used in restoration work.
An alkyd resin based substance manufactured by Winsor & Newton. Excellent for adding body to oil or alkyd paints. Can also be used as an extender. It will reduce the drying times when used with oils. (I like to mix it with white to speed up the drying).
Op Art
Short for optical art. This term was coined in 1964 by George Rickey. This style is abstract by nature and is based on trying to cause the illusion of movement with a stationary two dimensional surface. It reached its peak in popularity in the mid 1960's and then soon faded away but enjoyed a small resurgence in the 1980's. Some of the artists involved were Bridget Riley, Yaacov Agam, and Victor Vasarely.
The amount of transparency of a color or surface. The amount of light a surface will let go through it. All colors that have white added have a certain amount of opacity.
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- P -

A collage technique that uses parts of photographs. One artist known for this is David Hockney.
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- Q -

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- R -

Art which is an accurate depiction of nature. This is a term that is used in the most general sense. The term originated in the mid nineteenth-century, in France, when the painter Gustave Courbet said that since he had never seen an angel he could certainly never paint one. He devoted his life to painting the life around him. Realism was a big part of the art world until the 1950's when it was almost eliminated from critical consideration. It resurfaced in the 1960's with Pop art and the new realism. Today, realism is still a big part of the art world and is argued all the time as to its merits. Sometimes there is a very fine line between realism in hight art and hack art.
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