Mirrors. Deli paper. Wooden toys. Sap. Tea. In our Unique Materials spotlight, we're diving in to all the most unique materials our artists incorporate into their artwork.

Ned Martin

Not only does Ned Martin use hand-mixed paint and found metal elements in his work, but he also incorporates used printing press plates - adhering them onto panel, painting over them, and allowing some of the plates to show through. As a result, when you look closely at Ned's abstract work, you'll often see text elements and logos - timecapsuling modern day life, often alongside highly textured, subtle sculptural elements. To learn more about Ned's process and materials, you can check out our recent talk about sustainability on the blog.

Sarah Finucane

Connecticut artist Sarah Finucane's colorful, emotive, and intuitive body of work often incorporates a wide breadth of mixed media. The materials she uses to apply paint to her canvases span from lemons to mops, wallpaper brushes, and string. Paintings like Mini (below) are themselves made using varying materials like newsprint and deli paper. Learn more about Sarah's two seemingly opposed approaches to her creative process and read her Artist Statement on the blog

Alina B

By using acid to strip down mirror and then applying paint or dichroic film over top, Alina B creates a finished piece that is ever-changing and constantly interacting with it's surrounding environment - and the viewer. To learn more about Alina's work, read about Ziegfeld Follies (below). 

Cameron Wilson Ritcher

Virginia-based artist Cameron Wilson Ritcher's primary body of work comes together through the assemblage of plywood and found or reused objects like yardsticks, rulers, trim, moulding, and old wooden toys. He often plays a game in the studio, he says, whereby he only allows himself to use scrap materials from previous pieces to create something new. His more recent resin paintings, on the other hand, make a bold departure from his assemblage work, but are equally as unique. Using liquid latex to form the shapes in his compositions, he then pours resin overtop. "The process of pouring and curing resin is so tedious and delicate," Cameron says. "When I go to bed the night after pouring resin on a batch of new pieces, my mind is racing considering what could’ve gone wrong since I left the studio. When I come back the next morning and find that they have cured perfectly, it feels like Christmas morning. I am always so delighted with how brilliant they look." Read or watch our recent studio visit with Cameron on the blog.

Linda Bigness

Linda Bigness's abstract floral paintings are made with an encaustic painting technique on board. Encaustic literally means to “burn in” from the Greek word "enkaustikos". This name comes from the fact that in encaustic painting, each layer must be fused with heat to the layer beneath it. The base medium is primarily made from beeswax. The wax is mixed with damar resin, which is crystallized sap from fir trees. The damar resin provides hardness while the wax provides luminosity. Encaustic art can be made with only this clear combination, or mixed with high quality pigments. 

Deborah T. Colter

Collage artist Deborah T. Colter creates many of her own collage papers using Gelli plate printing, a method of mono-printing that allows the artist to apply layers of color and texture to a print. In addition, Colter uses found materials from old books, newspapers, and tissue paper. She adds line and pattern elements with drawing utensils and acrylic polymer paints, with a give-and-take process to slowly reveal the final composition. 

Sofie Swann

Originally from Iran, artist Sofie Swann was displaced from a young age due to political upheaval in her home country. After immigrating to the United States and moving several times before eventually settling down in Connecticut, she established her current body of abstract work which explores the concepts of emotion and the search for finding a sense of "home". Working primarily in acrylic paint, Sofie also incorporates Persian tea into many of her paintings as a symbolic nod to her roots as they blend with her newfound sense of self. To learn more about Sofie's work and process, check out our Inside the Studio talk with her last year. You can also learn more about Dancers #1 and Dancers #2 (below), in our recent Curator's Choice feature

To see more and shop art by each of the artists featured here, visit our Artists page. Or, contact us for more information on any of the work you see listed!


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