Big Medium

 Last week we visited Big Medium gallery in Austin. The space was a large simple space that presented Johnathan Faber paintings from his ‘material’ series. The paintings boast bold bright contrasting colors. Faber spoke about the use of tape in masking off his geometric inspired work. The process of stenciling out masks of color helps put a concrete barrier to the abstract shapes. A major focus of this series seemed to be the masking tape which at times I felt was almost unnecessary. The lines could have been painted rather than masked off. The most interesting part was hearing the artist’s perspective about getting the gallery space. Faber and the curator were telling us about how they arranged the exhibit: some emails/calls, a couple studio visits, and then they threw the work up in a day. The two galleries we visited couldn’t have been more different. The Visual Arts Center at UT seemed to have very clear distinctive ideas due to its academic nature, whereas the Big Medium gallery was very laid back and was obvious that it was designed by artists. As an artist, I definitely align myself with this type of gallery rather than UT’s very academic galleries. I feel like the loose structure of this gallery allows for ideas to flow more freely rather than feeling the need to “justify” art with some sort of academic intention. I also think the fact they are non-profit allows them many freedoms that academic galleries lack. I loved when the curator said that they did not have to please any financial contributors and therefore did not try to please the viewing audience.





  1. The removal of the tape in the paintings for Faber was an interesting topic point indeed. The artist himself when speaking about it, said that he originally had the intent to use the tape in his paintings as a building process, not as a reductive process. The artist seemed very surprised at this fact and at how well he thought the images came out from it. While the removal of the tape can be argued if it was or was not necessary, the paintings or drawings that did not include tape seemed almost not complete against the ones with the reductive tape process. What I felt to be more unnecessary than the tape however, was the amount of paint used on the images. There were a few paintings that seemed too varied in color that had no relation to one another, whereas there were others that were more solid and complete because each of the colors tied into the painting as a whole.
    In addressing the point to where the UT campus did not have to please any financial contributors, I feel that the Big Medium space didn’t have to do that either. Both spaces were non profit, so they are very much based on what the artist wants to do, and that alone. The only differences that I saw, were that at Big Medium the gallery space was more placed and less artistically designed, and that the space also allowed for those different artists to sell their own artwork.


  2. I also found it refreshing to visit an artists’ space like Big Medium, especially after first visiting the UT Visual Arts Center. I don’t think either is particularly better than the other, however, because as an artist myself, I’d be honored to have my work shown at either center. Each provided a spectrum of what art spaces can be in current times, both of which are essential to the institution aspect of fine art. The UT Visual Arts Center felt professional, clean, and tasteful, while Big Medium provided a more laid-back perspective essential to many artists looking for a relaxed and progressive space. Big Medium was also unique in that it was created by artists, for artists, showing the potential of artists and their ability to expand beyond just making work. I found it especially funny when the curator stated that as soon as he got to art school, he stopped making art. As a studio major in my senior year, I too have felt the pressure of the long haul and it has effected the ways in which I work, so it was comforting to hear another artist voicing how he overcame that.


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