top of page
© Seed Gallery New York

Material is the substance that an artwork is made from. Examples of materials include: clays, fibers, glass, cloth, animal skins, hair, blood, bones, parchments, vellum, plastic, metals, pigments, stones, wood and innumerable found objects. In body art, the material might be the artist's own body. In conceptual art there might be no material at all. Materials can vary from each other in many ways, some based upon formal qualities, chemical and/or biological composition, behavior in various conditions, market value, connotative or denotative meanings.

All materials have different qualities, characteristics, attributes, features and properties that distinguish them and make them nonpareil for the intended purpose. A material can have a callous and uncouth quality, it can be velvety, blissful and smooth in touch. A material can also be heavy in shape, light in appearance, hard or soft in perception, fragile or indestructible in thought. Certain materials can also evoke pleasant memories, invoke evil spirits, provoke raw emotions, incite violence and spur rage. Some materials are steeped in tradition, while some are imbued in superstition. However, even though every artist chooses his materials based on the demands of the envisioned work, the same material deployed by one artist can be used in a very different way by another artist to achieve very different results.



bottom of page