Art Term

Resin

A usually transparent solid or semi-solid substance sometimes used as a medium by sculptors

Sarah Lucas, ‘The Old In Out’ 1998
Sarah Lucas
The Old In Out 1998
Tate
© Sarah Lucas
César (César Baldaccini), ‘Thumb’ 1965
César (César Baldaccini)
Thumb 1965
Tate
© ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2017
Arman (Armand Fernandez), ‘Bluebeard’s Wife’ 1969
Arman (Armand Fernandez)
Bluebeard’s Wife 1969
Tate
© ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2017

As a fairly lightweight, durable material that is relatively cheap – compared to other traditional sculptural materials – it a desirable medium for artists (especially those who want to make multiple versions of a sculpture). Resin can also be painted or glazed to look like stone, bronze or marble.

Resins can be either natural or synthetic. ‘Natural’ resins derive from either plants or insects, whereas ‘synthetic’ resins (e.g. alkyd and acrylic) are manufactured industrially.

They can usually be dissolved in organic solvents to produce a clear solution, although many synthetic resins are produced as dispersions.