Art Terminology

OBJECTIVE ABSTRACTION

The term objective abstraction refers to a non-geometric style of abstract art developed by a group of British artists in 1933. Objective abstraction was part of the general ferment of exploration of abstraction in Britain in the early 1930s. The paintings produced by the group evolved in an improvisatory way from freely applied brushstrokes. An …

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OFFSET LITHOGRAPHY

Offset lithography is a variation of the printing technique lithography. Offset lithography involves transferring the image onto an intermediate surface before printing it onto the final sheet, (rather than printing the image directly from plate onto paper as is the case with most printmaking techniques). In doing so the image is twice reversed and appears …

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OIL PAINT

Oil paint is form of a slow-drying paint that consists of particles of pigment suspended in a drying oil that forms a tough, coloured film on exposure to air. The drying oil is a vegetable oil, often made by crushing nuts or seeds. For paints, linseed oil is most commonly used, but poppy, sunflower, safflower, …

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OLYMPIANS

The term Olympians was often used to describe certain Victorian artists whose work emphasised the classical in both style and subject matter. In ancient Greek mythology Mount Olympus in Greece was the home of the ancient gods, and the name refers both to the classicism of these artists and their huge success and dominance of …

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OMEGA WORKSHOPS

Founded in 1913 by the painter and art critic Roger Fry, the Omega Workshops was an English applied arts company based in London. The company produced ceramics, furniture, carpets and textiles designed by Fry, Duncan Grant and Vanessa Bell, who belonged to the circle of writers and artists known as Bloomsbury, and Henri Doucet, Henri …

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OP ART

Op art was a major development of painting in the 1960s that used geometric forms to create optical effects. The effects created by op art ranged from the subtle, to the disturbing and disorienting. Op painting used a framework of purely geometric forms as the basis for its effects and also drew on colour theory …

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ORIENTALIST

The former definition of this art term was outdated and misrepresented important and factual perspectives, so this text has been temporarily removed from our website and is currently being reviewed and rewritten.

ORPHISM

Orphism was an abstract, cubist influenced painting style developed by Robert and Sonia Delaunay around 1912. In the Delaunays’ work patches of subtle and beautiful colour are brought together to create harmonious compositions. The term, sometimes called orphic cubism, was coined around 1912–13 by the French poet and art critic Guillaume Apollinaire and used to …

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OUTSIDER ART

Outsider art is used to describe art that has a naïve quality, often produced by people who have not trained as artists or worked within the conventional structures of art production. The art of children, psychiatric patients and prisoners who create art outwith the conventional structures of art training and art production is often categorised …

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