What is variantology? Variantology can be defined as “an international research project with the aim of developing a critical appraisal of the established concepts of ‘media’.” To put it simply, it’s the exploration of different mediums outside the realms of the standard pen, pencil, and paint. It also opened up different approaches, such as theology, musicology, etc. The Fosdick-Nelson Gallery at Alfred University currently has an exhibit entitled “Variantology,” which is the perfect title since the exhibit has a wide variety of artwork that incorporate material that I didn’t even think one could make art with. There were two works of art that really caught my eye.
The artwork above is known as Snow City at Dawn , a piece done by Kathryn Vajda. This piece is so innovative, it was impossible to not notice. At first, I was kind of confused because I wasn’t quite sure what the artist was doing with the ice. All I noticed was the beautiful dawn background. But, after reading the title, the entire piece became beautiful. It’s so interesting to see an artwork that isn’t within the range of the standard mediums like charcoal and paint. It’s contributing to the new wave of possible mediums that we, as artists, can discover and play with.
The piece above is entitled Heterothermic Shiver Sextet, done by Mark Klingensmith. The true purpose surrounding this piece is still unclear to me, but that doesn’t prevent it from being one of my favorite pieces of the exhibit. I, like most people, find vibrant colors exciting and welcoming. Due to its extreme height, there was a lot to see, making me focus more. When the title is broken down, the piece makes much more sense. Heterothermy refers to animals that can switch between ectothermic(cold-blooded) and endothermic(heat absorbent) strategies. That’s why, from left to right on the image, it goes from warm colors to cool colors. Sextet is incorporated into the title simply because there are six panels in the piece. This piece is so interesting because it forces you to dig deeper and do research to truly understand and that, in turn, expands our knowledge.
The Variantology exhibit was definitely eye opening. The variety of mediums proved that artists don’t have to stay in the realm of well known and used mediums and that we can experiment with almost any and everything. Whether it’s using ice to build a city or using science to construct vibrant and aesthetically pleasing art, we are not limited. This exhibit made me excited to experiment with more mediums in the near future.