Art Term Tuesday: Nude

Well, this should be a short post. A nude is a work of art that portrays a naked human subject. All right, my work here is done. Or is it? Is there more to nudity in art beyond sheer nakedness? In this weeks Art Term Tuesday, Jack Cantey explores the term nude and what it means in art.

Art Term Tuesday: Quilt

The majority of our collection is from a single collector, David Pottinger, who focused on “Amish Quilts” from the early 20th century, though our earliest quilt is from 1876. Amish quilts have two definitions: quilts made by Amish or Mennonite quilters or quilts made using traditional Amish techniques and fabrics. Amish Quilts have a distinct style that persists to quilters today. A dark base color, striking geometric designs, and fantastically intricate hand stitching are hallmarks of Amish Quilts, though of course not the only techniques found in these types of quilts. Quilting is often a community project, where many friends and family members gather to work together to create a single quilt. Much like glassblowing, quilting is a collaborative art that is passed down to the next generation. Mothers would teach their daughters from an early age what they knew. When you look at the quilts, see if any share similarities in color or style, were they made by people from the same family? From the same community?

Art Term Tuesday: Murrini

When you walk into the 46th International Glass Invitational Award Winners exhibition here at FWMoA, it’s likely that your eye will be immediately drawn to a pair of large, brightly-colored pieces standing in one of the gallery’s corners. These works by American glass artist Stephen Powell have playful, enigmatic titles, and, with their size and thinly curved structures, seem to be part-sculpture, part-architectural element.

Art Term Tuesday: Engraving

“Winslow Homer: From Poetry to Fiction” opened at the museum on July 28, celebrating the engraved works of one of America’s most famous artists. Winslow Homer, a mostly self-taught artist of the 19th century, is well-known for his paintings and watercolors of American life and marine seascapes. However, Homer also created many engravings for Harper’s Weekly before his painting career took off, and a selection of those engravings are on view at FWMoA now. In honor of this exhibit, let’s explore what an “engraving” is in today’s Art Term Tuesday.

Art Term Tuesday: Macchia

A trio of vibrant, eye-catching glass sculptures from the FWMoA permanent collection have recently been put on display in the museum's Karl S. and Ella L. Bolander Gallery. These large, multihued vessels--featuring undulating rims and exteriors spotted with bright pops of color--are from renowned studio glass artist Dale Chihuly's Macchia series. Once you've taken in the visual brilliance of these works, though, you may find yourself wondering: What exactly is a "macchia?" It is an Italian word--derived from the Latin macula--that means "stain," "spot," or "speck;" it can also be used in reference to Mediterranean shrubland. (For the coffee lovers out there: Yep, it is also related to the drink called caffè macchiato, which could be translated as "coffee stained or spotted (with milk).") Looking at how these sculptures are "specked" or "stained" with color, it's possible to understand why Chihuly named this series Macchia. But is there anything more to the word beyond this, especially in relation to art history and technique?

Art Term Tuesday: Glass Casting

Opening soon at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art is the 46th Annual International Glass Invitational Award Winners exhibit in which glass sculptures by the best in the world will be on display. These beautiful works of art come into being by many processes, employing techniques that the average person might never have encountered. With that in mind, let’s explore one of the more popular glass making processes: cast glass.

Art Term Tuesday: Horror Vacui

I first encountered the Latin-derived term horror vacui several years ago while researching outsider art from the first half of the twentieth century. Simply put, horror vacui is the fear, or abhorrence, of empty space. In the past hundred years, this term has been used in discussions of interior design (for instance, Mario Praz's critique of Victorian-era design) and artwork in which a two- or three-dimensional space is filled with detail or objects. The presence of horror vacui in visual art can stem from an artist's overwhelming compulsion (perhaps related to mental illness) to leave no space vacant or from a conscious aesthetic decision to forgo negative space.

Art Term Tuesday: What is Art?

In this section of the blog we’ll be attempting to define different types of terms as they relate to art and creative expression. Our definitions will be rooted in what’s generally accepted among art world peers, but infused with our personal observations. And, in the art world, just as in the “real” world, terms have double meaning. “Value”, for example, a common term, refers to the lightness or darkness of a color, or it can express what the art itself is worth. For our first term, however, I hope to define “art,” a daunting task to be sure!