2 ShapeShape— A visually perceived area created by an enclosing line, color or value change to define an edge.Shape can also be referred to as Form.Composition is the arrangement of shapes in a piece of art.Sydney Licht. Still Life with Two Bunches. Oil on linen, 1’ x 1’. Kathryn Markel Fine Arts. Courtesy of the artist.
3 FormForm - another term for shape, but can also refer to an overall impression of a piece.Shape is normally considered Two-Dimensional.Shape is the more precise term because form can have multiple meanings in art.Pictures can exist without color or texture, but rarely without shape.Claude Monet. Rouen Cathedral: Portal, Grey Weather Oil on canvas. Musée d’Orsay, Paris.
5 Combining Two and Three-Dimensional Work Artwork can be both 2D and 3D at the same time.Relief sculpture is 3D, but is hung on a wall like a 2D painting.Collage often uses 3D objects on the canvas.Installation Art is an art form that uses both two-dimensional and three-dimensional form in a large format to evoke emotion. Often fills up an entire room.Caryatids - Ancient sculptures of the female form that were used in Greek architecture as support pillars.Jennifer Bartlett. Boats Sculpture: painted wood, steel support, pine mast, 5’ 6 1/2” x 3’ 11 1/2” 3’ 10” each (169 x cm); painting: oil on canvas, 9’ 10” x 14’ (3 x 4.3 m). Courtesy Paula Cooper Gallery, New York.
6 Naturalism and Distortion Naturalism (Realism)— Creating a picture that imitates what we see.Distortion — The artist purposely changes or exaggerates the forms of nature.Meant to provoke an emotional response on the part of the viewer.Or it might serve to emphasize the design elements inherent in the subject matter.See figure A from page 156Russell Connor. The New Yorker cover drawing. November 23, 1992.
8 Naturalism and Idealism Naturalism shows life and nature exactly how it is.It is concerned with true to life appearance.Idealism tries to create the perfect or ‘ideal’ form.Idealism is a recurrent theme in art and in society.The Greeks and Romans have strived to depict the ideal form.Today we still do this in fashion and advertising.Represents the world not as it is, but as how the artist and society feels it should be.Governments often use idealized images to promote their political system.
10 Abstraction: Essence of Shape Abstraction— A simplification of natural shapes to basic shapes.The degree of abstraction can vary.‘Reductive’ abstraction is where the subject is reduced or simplified to its basic building blocks.Abstraction is not new.All form, however complex, can be simplified to basic geometric shapes.Paul Resika. July Oil on canvas, 4’ 4” x 5’. Salander-OﾕReilly Galleries, LLC, New York, New York
11 Biomorphic Shapes Not all abstraction is geometric. Biomorphic— Abstract shapes that allude to natural, organic forms.Arshile Gorky. Garden in Sochi. c Oil on canvas, 2’ 7” x 3’ 3” (78.7x 99 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York (acquired through the Lillie P. Bliss Bequest, ).
12 Nonobjective Shapes: Pure Forms Nonobjective shapes –shapes that have no reference or subject matter.Nonobjective work is critiqued solely on its visual design. (Composition, color, etc…)Nonobjective work can still convey emotion.Anne Ryan. No Fabric and paper collage, 8’ 7” unframed. Walker Art Center (gift of Elizabeth McFadden, ).
13 Shape Associations Can any shape truly be nonobjective? Most shape will always evoke a response or a reference from the viewer.Helen Frankenthaler. Over the Circle Oil on canvas, 7’ 1/8” x 7’ 3 7/16” (2.13 x 2.21 m). Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin (gift of Mari and James A. Michener, ).
14 Rectilinear and Curvilinear Rectilinear— Forms that have straight lines, sharp edges and rectangular planes.Thought of as man made or manufactured things.Curvilinear— A continual curved form.Thought of as natural (However, nature used geometry and rectilinear shapes too.)Arne Jacobsen. The Egg Chair (in production since 1958). 107 x 86 x 79 cm. Photo: Jean-Claude Planchet. Musée National d’Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France.
16 Positive/Negative Shapes Positive Shapes (Figure)-- The main shape or subject in a picture.Negative Shapes (Ground)— The space in which this figure or positive shape resides.It is as important to design the negative spaces as it is to design the positive shape.Utamaro. Ten looks of women’s physiognomy/enjoyable looks. The Japan Ukiyo-e Museum, Matsumoto, Japan.
17 Planned Negative Spaces Japanese artists often design and use the negative space of their images in unique ways.Negative shapes are very important in letterform and typography.Aaron Siskind. Chicago Silver gelatin, 1’ 1 7/8” 1’ 5 5/8”. International Center of Photography, New York.
18 Using Negative Space in Three Dimensions Negative space is very important in architecture.The negative space or open space is often even more important then the exterior.Richard Serra. Joe. The Pulitzer Foundation, St. Louis.
19 Isolation or Integration “Integration between positive and negative shapes is generally thought desirable.”A shape placed randomly on a piece of paper will look “pasted-on” or bad.You have to design the placement of shapes for interest, tension, etc…El Lissitzky. Of Two Squares: A Suprematist Tale in Six Constructions Illustrated book with letterpress cover and six letterpress illustrations, 10 15/16” x 8 7/8” (27.8 x 22.5 cm). Publisher: Skify, Berlin. Gift of the Judith Rothschild Foundation ( ).
20 Examples for Discussion Georges Seurat. Silhouette of a Woman Conté crayon on paper, 1’ 8 7/8” (30.5 x 22.5 cm). Collection of McNay Art Museum, San Antonio, Texas (bequest of Marion Koogler McNay).Georges Seurat. The Black Bow. c Conté crayon, 1’ 3/16” 9 1/16” (31 x 23 cm). Mus仔 dﾕOrsay, Paris.
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