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Thursday, September 2, 2010

Reading Assignment 1 Summary (week thru 8/27)

Theory of Human Perception

Gestalt Theory - important for understanding how we perceive visual form by organizing its components into a meaningful whole. A form that exhibits high organization has good gestalt, while a form with weak organization has weak gestalt.

The Four Aspects of Gestalt - these aspects help us understand form as a meaningful whole and not as isolated, unrelated parts.

  1. Closure - when separate elements are placed so that you perceive the design as a whole rather than in different sections.
  2. Continuance - when part of a form overlaps itself or an adjacent form; your eye is led to follow the dominant form across the secondary without interruption.
  3. Proximity - distance between the parts compromising a form.
  4. Similarity - helps hold a form together and can be an effective way to create meaning.

Visual elements interact through position, direction, and space. Taken together or separately, the principles of interaction govern the placement of elements and influence our understanding of meaning.

  • Position - the placement of an element relative to other elements and/or the frame. This includes overlapping, touching and not touching.
  • Direction - the course of movement. Horizontal, vertical, and diagonal lines of any angle move our eye in a given direction.
  • Space - perhaps the most important aspect of interaction in a composition. The areas between and around elements are active participants in the composition, and can be dominant and important as the elements themselves.
 Depth - when in a composition, it can create and help a form communicate its purpose and meaning. In 3d design, depth is physically present. It is much harder to demonstrate in 2d design, where you have to display the illusion of depth.

Perspective - created through the use of lines to depict three-dimensional form on a flat, 2d surface. It is distinctly a Western invention, refined during the renaissance as an aid in organizing compositional space and in lending order to our relationship to the environment.

Visual Weight and Balance - weight is the sum of a form's components and is akin to mass and energy. Balance refers to the degree of equilibrium in a composition Position is the dominant means of creating balance, resulting in symmetry, asymmetry, or combination of both.

Symmetry - a form has symmetry when is can be divided diagnonally, vertically, and horizontally and the resulting sides are essentially the same. It is abundant in nature and is the odest method of seeking visual balance.

Asymmetry - a form has asymmetry when it is divided and the resulting sides are not the same size and shape (also called dynamic tension/equilibrium).

Formal Matters

Content - in a sense, is that which is expressed or made manifest through form, or even as form. Form actually is content and vice versa.

Form - the means by which one gives substance to an idea. It operates in ways that are as numerous as there are formats for work.

Formalism - refers to an approach to art and art making that emphasizes elements such as shape, color, and materiality, often seeing the work of art as a self-referential object as opposed to a vessel for a message of some kind.

Modernism - when thinking about art is predicated on the assumption that art history is a progressive movement toward greater purity in each medium.

When looking at work with a formal eye, the shape of a form or the uprightness of a figure may embody a likeness, which becomes the "content" of a work. Here, form slips into content. A shape or form that doesn't really look like anything but reminds us of other things adds those identities to it. This slippage of identity can be all the poetics of meaning.

A Painting's Internal Logic - a whole lot of questions can be answered about the logic of a painting when you address the actions going on within the frame.

  • Line - considered many artists to embody the direct channel between the brain and the hand, a means itself of thought.
  • Color - Color is to painting what line is to drawing. It carries with it the emotional content, and the perception of it changes, depending on the other colors nearby.
  • Composition - generally thought of as the arrangement of lines and shapes within a pictorial space. They are based on shared human perceptions.
  • Fields - composed as all-over patterns over the picture plane. They psread out to edges of the canvas so the pictorial space becomes a fragment of an imaginary larger field that exists beyond its edges.

A Paintings External Logic

  • Edges - the physical outer edge of a painting; it separates the work from the rest of the world.
  • Scale - A large canvas tips inherently away from the object toward pure surface because the depth of its edges is much smaller. It refers to a work's size in relation to the world around it and to the relation of its parts to one another within the internal logic of the whole.
  • Format - refers to the shape and proportions of a pictorial surface.
Principles of Form and Design

Elements of Design 
  •  Conceptual Elements
    1. Point
    2. Line
    3. Plane
    4. Volume
  • Visual Elements
    1. Shape
    2. Size
    3. Color
    4. Texture
  • Relational Elements
    1. Direction
    2. Position
    3. Space
    4. Gravity
  • Practical Elements
    1. Representation
    2. Meaning
    3. Function

Form - Point, line, or plane, when visible, becomes form. A oint on paper, however small, must have shape, size, color and texture if it is meant to be seen. So must a line or a plane. Volume remains illusory in 2d design. Visible points, lines, or planes are forms in the true sense, although forms as points or lines are still simply called points or lines in common practice. They can encounter each other in numerous ways. There are eight different ways of interrelationship can be distinguished (Detachment, Touching, Overlapping, Interpretation, Union, Subtraction and Intersection).

Types of Form

  • Geometric - has regular angles or patterns.
  • Organic - fluid in appearance.
Elements of a Form
  • Dot
  • Line
  • Plane
  • Volume
Characteristics of Form
  • Size
  • Shape
  • Texture
  • Color

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