Art Terminology

GENERATIVE ART

Generative art is art made using a predetermined system that often includes an element of chance – is usually applied to computer based art. The practice has its roots in dada, yet it was the pioneering artist Harold Cohen who was considered one of the first practitioners of generative art when he used computer-controlled robots …

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GENRE PAINTING

The term genre painting refers to paintings which depict scenes of everyday life. Genre painting developed particularly in Holland in the seventeenth century. The most typical subjects were scenes of peasant life or drinking in taverns, and tended to be small in scale. In Britain William Hogarth’s modern moral subjects were a special kind of …

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GENRES

Genres are types of painting. These were codified in the seventeenth century as (in descending order of importance) history, portrait, genre (scenes of everyday life), landscape and still life. This hierarchy of genres, established by the French Royal Academy, was based on the notion of man as the measure of all things. Landscape and still …

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GEOMETRY OF FEAR

Geometry of Fear was a term coined by the critic Herbert Read in 1952 to describe the work of a group of young British sculptors characterised by tortured, battered or blasted looking human, or sometimes animal figures. Herbert Read used the phrase in a review of the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale of that …

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GEORGIAN

Georgian is the term applied to the style of architecture, art and design prevalent through the reigns of the four King Georges in Britain from 1714 to 1830. Georgian usually refers to architecture, furniture, silver and the like, rather than painting. Its unifying characteristic, if it has one, is a certain classical restraint and harmony.

GERMAN EXPRESSIONISM

German expressionism was an early twentieth century German art movement that emphasized the artist’s inner feelings or ideas over replicating reality, and was characterised by simplified shapes, bright colours and gestural marks or brushstrokes. There were two main groups of German expressionist artists: Die Brücke (the bridge) led by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, and Der Blaue …

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GESTURAL

Gestural is a term used to describe the application of paint in free sweeping gestures with a brush. The term originally came into use to describe the painting of the abstract expressionist artists Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Franz Kline, Robert Motherwell, Hans Hofmann and others (also referred to as action painters). In Pollock’s case …

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GLASGOW SCHOOL

Glasgow School usually refers to the circle of artists and designers working around Charles Rennie Mackintosh in Glasgow from the mid 1890s to about 1910. Most notable in the group were the Macdonald sisters and Herbert MacNair and with Charles Rennie Mackintosh they were known as The Four. They made a distinctive and highly influential …

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GOUACHE

Gouache is a type of water-soluble paint that, unlike watercolour, is opaque so the white of the paper surface does not show through. The term gouache was first used in France in the eighteenth century to describe a type of paint made from pigments bound in water-soluble gum, like watercolour, but with the addition of …

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GRAFFITI ART

Graffiti art as a term refers to images or text painted usually onto buildings, typically using spray paint. Graffiti art has its origins in 1970s New York, when young people began to use spray paint and other materials to create images on buildings and on the sides of subway trains. Such graffiti can range from …

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GRAND MANNER

Grand manner is an English term used widely from the eighteenth century to describe what was considered to be the highest style of art in academic theory – a style based on an idealised, classical approach. The term grand manner was given currency by Sir Joshua Reynolds and extensively discussed in his Discourses on Art – fifteen lectures delivered …

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GRAPHITE

Graphite is a metallic grey writing and drawing material most commonly used in pencil form – though graphite powder is also used by artists as a drawing material. Graphite is a crystalline form of carbon and is useful as a writing and drawing tool, as only the slightest pressure is needed to leave a mark. …

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GRATTAGE

Grattage is a surrealist painting technique that involves laying a canvas prepared with a layer of oil paint over a textured object and then scraping the paint off to create an interesting and unexpected surface. The technique was invented by surrealist artist Max Ernst. Having prepared a canvas using grattage, Ernst would then work back …

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GROUP X

Group X was a short lived group of British artists formed by Wyndham Lewis in 1920 to provide a continuing focus for avant-garde art in Britain following the First World War. It was an attempt to revive Wyndham Lewis’s pre-war vorticist group. One group exhibition was held in 1922. Other artists associated with Group X …

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GRUPO FRENTE

Grupo Frente was a 1950s Brazilian art movement formed by artists who rejected the figuration and nationalism of the predominant modernist Brazilian painting style. The movement was founded by the artist and teacher Ivan Serpa in Rio de Janeiro in 1954. Many of the artists associated with Grupo Frente were former pupils of Serpa at …

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GRUPO RUPTURA

Grupo Ruptura was formed by a group of Brazilian abstract artists in the early 1950s with the aim of breaking with the prevalent naturalist approach to painting in the country. In 1952 an exhibition called Ruptura was held at the São Paulo Museum of Modern Art. The exhibition marked the beginning of the concrete art …

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GRUPPO ORIGINE

Gruppo Origine was a short-lived Italian group (translates as origin group) formed in 1951 to promote a return to simple form and colour in abstract art. The group was founded in Romein 1951 by Alberto Burri, Ettore Colla, Giuseppe Capogrossi and Mario Ballocco. Critical of what they saw as the increasingly decorative quality of abstract …

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GUERRILLA GIRLS

The Guerrilla Girls are a group of anonymous American female artists who seek to expose sexual and racial discrimination in the art world and the wider cultural arena. Formed in New York in the mid 1980s, Guerrilla Girls’ members protect their identities by wearing gorilla masks in public and by assuming pseudonyms taken from deceased …

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GUTAI

Gutai were a Japanese avant-garde group formed in 1954 whose radical ideas and approaches to making art anticipated later performance and conceptual art of the 1960s and 1970s. The Gutai Bijutsu Kyokai (Gutai Art Association) was formed in 1954 in Osaka by Yoshihara Jiro, Kanayma Akira, Murakami Saburo, Shiraga Kazuo and Shozo Shimamoto. The word …

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