The Material Image: Artists’ Approaches to Reproducing Texture in Art

By Carinna Parraman.

Published by The International Journal of Arts Theory and History

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published Online: October 25, 2016 $US5.00

Since the introduction of computers, there has been a desire to improve the appearance of computer-generated objects in virtual spaces and to display the objects within complex scenes exactly as they appear in reality. This is a straightforward process for artists who through the medium of paint or silver halide are able to directly observe from nature and interpret and capture the world in a highly convincing way. However, for computer-generated images, the process is more complex; computers have no capability to compare whether the rendering looks right or wrong—only humans can make the final subjective decision. The evolving question is: what are the elements of paintings and drawings produced by artists that capture the qualities, texture, grain, reflection, translucency, and absorption of a material, that through the application of coloured brush marks, demonstrate a convincing likeness of the material qualities of e.g. wood, metal, glass, and fabric? This research considers the relationship between texture, objects, and artists’ approaches to reproducing texture in art. However, texture is problematic as our visual system is able to discriminate the difference between natural and patterned texture and incorrectly rendered surfaces can hinder understanding. Furthermore, rendering surfaces with no discernible pattern structure, comprised of unlimited variations, can result in exceptionally large file sizes as demonstrated by the computer-generated rendering. This research explores the relationship between imaging, artists’ approaches to reproducing representations of the attributes of material qualities, the fluid dynamics of a painterly mark, and 2.5D relief in printing. The objective is not to reproduce existing paintings or prints, but to build the surface using a deposition of pigments, paints, and inks that explore the relationship between image and surface.

Keywords: Artworks, Texture, Material Reproduction, 2.5D Printing, Material Qualities and Characteristics, Vector

The International Journal of Arts Theory and History, Volume 11, Issue 4, pp.33-44. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published Online: October 25, 2016 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 859.985KB)).

Dr. Carinna Parraman

Professor, Centre for Fine Print Research, University of the West of England, Bristol, UK