Art is fundamentally material: even conceptual art can be seen as an affirmation of art’s corporeality through its negation. We invite you to reflect upon the many ways in which your work engages with the notion of materiality, in every stage of your creative process, starting with the materials and tools you use, all the way to the tangible objects you make.

Here are some prompts to get you going:

How do you engage with your medium in all its density and specificity and in what ways does the medium you choose impact your work?

How do you handle your medium? What materials and tools do you choose, how do you handle them, and for what effect?

Do you fully embrace your medium’s specificity, letting it, as it were, guide you, or do you instead engage in a conversation, fighting the material’s natural tendencies?

How do the material objects you create reflect our surrounding world and how, in turn, do they interact with it and maybe even transform it?

How does the materiality of your work convey immaterial ideas, concepts, and emotions? In what ways do you deploy the physical reality of your artwork to express abstract notions?

MAJ inviteEl Anatsui Nukae 1 (close up) (2922765989) copy

El Anatsui, Nukae-1 (close-up), aluminum and copper wire, aluminum and copper wire, 2006, Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, Washington, DC (photo: Wikimedia Commons;

Deadline: 1 September 2023.

We invite MAJ member artists (to become a member: click here) to submit up to four JPEG or png images (NO TIFF files), approximately 2800 pixels on width, resolution 72dpi.

Guidelines for UMVA Members’ Showcase:

    • Include an image list and statement or brief essay (600 words or less) in Word doc. format, NOT a PDF.
    • Label each image file as follows: your last name_Number of Image_Title (with no spaces in the title). Please DO NOT put whole caption/credit in image file label, see image list/caption format below (if you are submitting for a group put your own last name in first).
    • Label your document file names: Last Name_Title
    • Image list/caption format: create a list that is numbered to match the number in your image file label that includes the following: Artist’s Name, Title of Work, medium, size (example: 9 x 12 in.), date (optional), photo credit (example: photo: Ansel Adams) if not included we assume it is courtesy of the artist. Example: Unknown Artist, Untitled, oil on canvas, 9 x 12 in., 2000 (photo: Ansel Adams).
    • Please wait until all of your material is compiled to submit.

Put “Materialityin the subject line and submit by email to by the 1 September 2023 deadline. MAJ will limit the “Members’ Showcase” section to UMVA members who have not been published in the past year.

Do not send preformatted visual essays. Our editors will lay out text and images submitted using the guidelines above.

It is the MAJ’s policy to request and then publish image credits. We will not publish images the submitter does not have the right to publish. However, it is to be assumed that any uncredited or unlabeled images are the author’s/submitter’s own images. By submitting to the MAJ, you are acknowledging respect for these policies.


Image at top: El Anatsui, Nukae-1, aluminum and copper wire, 2006, Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, Washington, DC (photo: Wikimedia Commons;