Medium rare

Think you've seen it all in art? Our series on unusual mediums might just change your mind

medium rare, previous >


Boo Ritson

In a complete reversal of the usual conventions of painting, UK artist Boo Ritson actually paints on her subjects - carefully styled models are liberally coated in standard household emulsion, and the results then photographed.

Vacillating curiously between cartoon-like representation and intense character study, her work provides an amusing subversion of standard depictive process as well as a celebration of the gloriously gooey qualities of paint.


Boo ritson Boo ritson portrait

images © Boo Ritson


Dan Colen

Dan Colen: unusual mediums in contemporary art
Images above and below © Dan Colen

New York artist Dan Colen is known for unconventional art tactics, and his bubblegum paintings certainly seem to fit that bill (although Paul Mccarthy's gum prints go just that little bit further by actually being edible).


Dan Colen, bird shit painting

Less obviously palatable are Colen's 'bird poo' pictures, which seem to have been authored by a super-sized colony of pigeons.

In fact, they're produced in oils, so although we can salute Colen's trompe l'oeil abilities, he's less hands-on than we imagined - or simply mindful of buyers' delicate dispositions.

Swedish artist Henrik Håkansson, who has also produced a recent series of poop pics, has no such scruples, enlisting the aid of passing swallows to really and truly splatter his canvases - a gesture, we should add, that's entirely in keeping with Håkansson's nature-based art.


Gavin Turk

contemporary art, unusual mediums; Gavin Turk
Image © Gavin Turk

From bodily wastes of a (fairly) solid variety we turn, inevitably, to the subject of pee as an artistic medium.

Urine was (probably) first used as a medium for painting by Andy Warhol in 1961, and although only a photograph exists of that particular work, the Pop master again took up the general theme in the mid 1970s.

Rather more ambitiously, the so-called 'oxidation paintings' depended on the chemical reaction of urine with copper paint.

UK artist Gavin Turk, having previously appropriated Warhol's screenprints and diamond dust finishes, recently embarked on his own series of pee paintings (left).

Whether, like Warhol, he was on hand to witness invited assemblies of attractive young men producing each work is not entirely clear.


Katie Paterson

contemporary art, Katie Paterson
Image © Katie Paterson

In what must be the most unusual take on an ice sculpture ever, fast emerging UK artist Katie Paterson's ice LPs form part of a work chronicling the life of glaciers.

The artist first recorded the sound of the melting ice-stacks, then had these 'tracks' cut onto discs created from the meltwater itself.

To complete the cycle, the ersatz LPs were then played on turntables until the ice once again melted. Genius.


medium rare: continued >

Bookmark and Share


further articles

limited edition prints and multiples

back to top

Advertise here

Advertise here

top picks...

modernedition: limited editions

richard prince - more

daniel richter
cai guo-qiang
paul mccarthy
paper rad
gary hume
mortgage home loan rent

Further articles

click to scroll left
Alicja Kwade
Alicja Kwade
Leading art collectives
Collective cool
Arabic art from the Middle East
Middle eastern contemporary art
Contemporary sculpture
Contemporary sculpture
New German painting of the Leipzig era
German art: the Leipzig years
New art from the Netherlands
New Dutch art
Neo-narration - the newest art narrative
Neo-narration and art as literature
Korean contemporary art
Contemporary art from Korea
Identity and transformation: new contemporary art from Italy
Identity: Italian art now
click to scroll right
1 2 3