Copyright © 2013. Allworth Press. All rights reserved. Line Day, Jesse. Line Color Form : The Language of Art and Design, Allworth Press, 2013. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/newschool/detail.action?docID=1320630. Created from newschool on 2021-10-22 01:28:26. CHAPTER 1 Defining Line Lines are the most basic units of visual communication. Lines, curves, and angles begin to give shape to concepts, allowing them to take form and assert themselves on reality. From Euclidean geometry we derive idealized form in its purest two-dimensional and threedimensional expression. Then we add the more subtle human elements of weight, motion, and style, and begin to explore the non-rational lines found in nature. A mastery of the terms used to describe lines, curves, and shapes is the foundation for any accurate discussion of art or design. Copyright © 2013. Allworth Press. All rights reserved. Weight Line Style Day, Jesse. Line Color Form : The Language of Art and Design, Allworth Press, 2013. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/newschool/detail.action?docID=1320630. Created from newschool on 2021-10-22 01:28:26. Copyright © 2013. Allworth Press. All rights reserved. Brushstrokes Day, Jesse. Line Color Form : The Language of Art and Design, Allworth Press, 2013. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/newschool/detail.action?docID=1320630. Created from newschool on 2021-10-22 01:28:26. Copyright © 2013. Allworth Press. All rights reserved. Angle Day, Jesse. Line Color Form : The Language of Art and Design, Allworth Press, 2013. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/newschool/detail.action?docID=1320630. Created from newschool on 2021-10-22 01:28:26. Copyright © 2013. Allworth Press. All rights reserved. Shape Day, Jesse. Line Color Form : The Language of Art and Design, Allworth Press, 2013. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/newschool/detail.action?docID=1320630. Created from newschool on 2021-10-22 01:28:26. Grid Copyright © 2013. Allworth Press. All rights reserved. Circle Day, Jesse. Line Color Form : The Language of Art and Design, Allworth Press, 2013. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/newschool/detail.action?docID=1320630. Created from newschool on 2021-10-22 01:28:26. 2D Copyright © 2013. Allworth Press. All rights reserved. 3D Day, Jesse. Line Color Form : The Language of Art and Design, Allworth Press, 2013. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/newschool/detail.action?docID=1320630. Created from newschool on 2021-10-22 01:28:26. Wild Brushstrokes aggressive jagged meandering curlicues heavy blurry streaks frantic Copyright © 2013. Allworth Press. All rights reserved. Fighter, Egon Schiele, 1913 This 1913 self-portrait by Egon Schiele is an excellent example of how line can communicate tension and emotion. The figure’s awkward posture is rendered in fast aggressive lines, some thin, some thick, all jagged and unsteady. The hair on his thighs is created from a few quick meandering curlicues, a hurried suggestion of hair rather than a detailed depiction of it. Color too is applied in wide splotches with a heavy brushstroke or rubbed into the canvas in blurry streaks. The subject’s haunted-eyed expression is one of shock, glaring over his shoulder at the viewer as if we just walked in on him in the middle of some incriminating act. The violence and vulnerability of this moment is communicated through the wild, frantic lines, as if Schiele were desperately trying to escape from his own physical body, even as he Day, Jesse. Line Color Form : The Language of Art and Design, Allworth Press, 2013. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/newschool/detail.action?docID=1320630. Created from newschool on 2021-10-22 01:28:26. immortalized himself in paint. Schematic Drawing integrated exploded perimeter rectangular irregular teeth cylindrical pegs freehand General and Exploded View of a Hoist, Leonardo da Vinci, circa 1500 Copyright © 2013. Allworth Press. All rights reserved. This schematic drawing from the notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci provides two views of a machine, both as a functional integrated object and as a separated, or exploded, series of interlocking parts. This exploded view is the foundation of engineering design, still used today in everything from automobile assembly to Lego instructions. It is notable that Leonardo’s drawing is more representational than precisely accurate. The curving perimeters of the various wheels are drawn with the irregular stroke of a quick hand. The rectangular teeth and the little cylindrical pegs are drawn freehand, approximating the idea of the shape rather than precisely rendering its geometric properties. The goal of this drawing is to communicate as clearly as possible the concept and function of the design, in such a way that a skilled machinist would have no trouble picking up where the artist left off and constructing a working machine. Functionalism form Day, Jesse. Line Color Form : The Language of Art and Design, Allworth Press, 2013. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/newschool/detail.action?docID=1320630. Created from newschool on 2021-10-22 01:28:26. function disk cylinder semispherical user-centered intuitive Wagenfeld Table Lamp WG 24, Wilhelm Wagenfeld, 1924 Photo: Michael Hoefner The Wagenfeld Table Lamp is a quintessential industrial design of the Bauhaus era and embodies the philosophy of functionalism. Broadly defined, the functionalist aesthetic demands that the form of an object should express its function, and that all unnecessary ornamentation should be omitted. This lamp is constructed from simple, undecorated geometric forms. A thick glass disk provides a sturdy base from which a transparent cylinder shoots up like the trunk of a tree to support a semispherical reflector bowl. The glass of the reflector bowl is opaque, seeming to hide the internal lighting mechanism, but actually providing the function of diffusing the light for a more balanced glow. The most noteworthy element of the lamp, however, is the simple pull-string on/off switch, a dangling metal cord with a tiny brass sphere on the end that screams “Pull me!,” heralding the dawn of a new era of user-centered, intuitive design. Copyright © 2013. Allworth Press. All rights reserved. Curvilinear Design scaled rounded corners rectangle Day, Jesse. Line Color Form : The Language of Art and Design, Allworth Press, 2013. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/newschool/detail.action?docID=1320630. Created from newschool on 2021-10-22 01:28:26. gradual curve edges concentric circles cylinder First Generation iPod, Apple Inc., 2001 The smoothly shaped and intuitively navigable iPod was the beginning of Apple’s usercentered design revolution. The iPod was designed with a sleek curving geometry and perfectly scaled to fit comfortably in the human hand. The basic form of the device is a thin rectangle with rounded corners and gradually curving edges. The screen is set inside a round-cornered rectangle that mimics the shape of the iPod itself, and the modern sans-serif font of the text is also soft and rounded. The primary curved rectangle form is complemented by several circular design elements, including the concentric circles of the control wheel and the “select” button. The earbuds, more notable for their shape than their sound quality, are composed of flattened semispherical disks affixed to small, pill-shaped cylinders that protect the electrical components, before connecting to the soft, rubbersheathed wires. The entire design is curvilinear and smooth, in service of the belief that the product should be just as easy on the eye as it is easy to use. Copyright © 2013. Allworth Press. All rights reserved. Postmodern Sculpture organic seamless continuous Day, Jesse. Line Color Form : The Language of Art and Design, Allworth Press, 2013. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/newschool/detail.action?docID=1320630. Created from newschool on 2021-10-22 01:28:26. curving surface ellipse concave perception Cloud Gate, Anish Kapoor, 2004–2006 This public sculpture, located in the heart of Chicago’s Millennium Park, was titled Cloud Gate by the artist, Anish Kapoor, but Chicagoans have nicknamed it “The Bean” for its distinct organic shape. A radical departure from the modernist aesthetic that dominates Chicago’s skyscrapers, Cloud Gate embodies a postmodern sensibility, avoiding straight lines and definition. Constructed from 168 seamlessly welded stainless steel plates, the sculpture has no edge, but only a continuously curving surface generated by an infinite calculus of ellipses. As with other postmodern work, Cloud Gate deals with the perception and experience of the viewer. Visitors are able to walk around the entire sculpture, even passing beneath the concave underbelly of the piece, with each step revealing a new vision in the sculpture’s mirrored surface. In a sense, the sculpture is not so much a new object in the city, but rather a portal to a new way of seeing the city and oneself within that environment. Copyright © 2013. Allworth Press. All rights reserved. Minimalist Installation identical rectangular prism exterior face Day, Jesse. Line Color Form : The Language of Art and Design, Allworth Press, 2013. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/newschool/detail.action?docID=1320630. Created from newschool on 2021-10-22 01:28:26. minimal perspective stanza Large Stack, Donald Judd, 1968 Photo: Oliver Kurmis This piece is one of many similar sculptural installations by minimalist artist Donald Judd. The sculpture is composed of ten identical rectangular prisms of amber-colored Plexiglas, the exterior face enclosed in a heavy casing of stainless steel, and mounted directly on the museum wall. While the minimal presentation allows us to enjoy the pure qualities of the materials themselves, the installation also elegantly expresses the simple idea of perspective, as the viewer discovers how different the exact same shapes look when seen from varying angles. As one scans up and down the piece, each rectangular surface appears to be thinner or wider than the next, calling into question when, if ever, we are able to see the actual true nature of an object. With its stanza-like structure, the sculpture is not unlike a simple poem about the beauty and mystery of geometric form. Copyright © 2013. Allworth Press. All rights reserved. Concentric Circles geometric abstraction slab-like prism Day, Jesse. Line Color Form : The Language of Art and Design, Allworth Press, 2013. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/newschool/detail.action?docID=1320630. Created from newschool on 2021-10-22 01:28:26. inscribed diameter illusion depth Concentric Circles, Herbert Bayer, 1969/2010. Courtesy: Peyton Wright Gallery Concentric Circles, by lesser-known Bauhaus artist Herbert Bayer, is a work of pure idealized geometric abstraction. Devoid of color, the powdercoated aluminum sculpture explores the effect that can be created by line and mass alone. A slab-like square prism is inscribed with a series of concentric circles of uniformly decreasing diameter. The technique of positioning the center of each circle lower than the next gives the illusion of great depth, a common trick of the eye used in illustration to create the sense that one is staring down a tunnel. This raises something of a puzzling contradiction, however, in the case of a sculpture that has actual physical depth. In fact, the illusion of depth is confounded by the physical reality of the object taking up space in the environment. As a three-dimensional object, existing in real space, it can never be any deeper than it is. Copyright © 2013. Allworth Press. All rights reserved. Honeycomb Architecture exterior skin hexagon isosceles Day, Jesse. Line Color Form : The Language of Art and Design, Allworth Press, 2013. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/newschool/detail.action?docID=1320630. Created from newschool on 2021-10-22 01:28:26. Copyright © 2013. Allworth Press. All rights reserved. Color Day, J. (2013). Line color form : The language of art and design. Allworth Press. Created from newschool on 2021-10-22 01:32:01. CHAPTER 2 Hue and Mood Of all the elements of visual expression, color is the one that most directly affects human emotion. Colors have different meanings to different cultures, and even two people within the same culture will see the same hues differently and have independent emotional responses to them. There is an infinite variety of shades of color perceivable to the human eye, but a finite number of color names. The colors listed in this book have been chosen for their frequent use in spoken and written American English, particularly with regard to discussions involving art and design. This chapter is meant to give you a greater command of vocabulary for expressing color and its effect, precisely as you see it. Copyright © 2013. Allworth Press. All rights reserved. Blue Yellow Day, J. (2013). Line color form : The language of art and design. Allworth Press. Created from newschool on 2021-10-22 01:32:01. Copyright © 2013. Allworth Press. All rights reserved. Green Orange Day, J. (2013). Line color form : The language of art and design. Allworth Press. Created from newschool on 2021-10-22 01:32:01. Copyright © 2013. Allworth Press. All rights reserved. Pink Red Day, J. (2013). Line color form : The language of art and design. Allworth Press. Created from newschool on 2021-10-22 01:32:01. Copyright © 2013. Allworth Press. All rights reserved. Purple Gray Day, J. (2013). Line color form : The language of art and design. Allworth Press. Created from newschool on 2021-10-22 01:32:01. Copyright © 2013. Allworth Press. All rights reserved. Brown Color Theory Day, J. (2013). Line color form : The language of art and design. Allworth Press. Created from newschool on 2021-10-22 01:32:01. Primary Colors The three colors in the central equilateral triangle, red, blue, and yellow, are the primary colors. They are called “primary” because they cannot be made by mixing any other colors. Secondary Colors The next three colors represented in isosceles triangles, orange, purple, and green, are called “secondary colors.” They are made by mixing two primary colors. For example, yellow + blue = green. Tertiary Colors The primary and secondary colors appear again in the outer ring. The colors that appear between the primary and secondary colors are called “tertiary colors.” They are the result of mixing primary and secondary colors. For example, yellow + orange = orange-yellow. The six basic tertiary colors are orange-red, orange-yellow, yellow-green, blue-green, blue-purple, and red-purple. Discordant Colors When two colors that appear next to each other on the outer ring of the color wheel are used together in a composition, such as red + orange-red or yellow + yellow-green, they are often referred to as being discordant, unbalanced, or clashing. This is because the colors are so similar to each other that they fight for our eye’s attention. While terms like unbalanced and clashing carry the negative connotation of being displeasing to the eye, discordant colors are also often positively described as being eye-catching or dynamic. Harmonious Colors When two colors that appear exactly opposite each other on the outer ring are used together in a composition, such as yellow + purple or orange-red + blue-green, they are often referred to as being harmonious, balanced, or complementary. This is because the colors are so different from each other—exact opposites in their degrees of warmth and coolness—that when they are put together each color makes up for what the other lacks, creating a sense of balance and stability. Copyright © 2013. Allworth Press. All rights reserved. Color Format Day, J. (2013). Line color form : The language of art and design. Allworth Press. Created from newschool on 2021-10-22 01:32:01. Copyright © 2013. Allworth Press. All rights reserved. Emotional Response When we describe the value (also called brightness, lightness, or tone) of color, we use adjectives that indicate both how bright the color is and how we feel about the color. For example, if a color is very bright and we love it, we call it vibrant or Day, J. (2013). Line color form : The language of art and design. Allworth Press. Created from newschool on 2021-10-22 01:32:01. brilliant. If it is very bright and offensive to our eyes, we call it glaring or garish. If a color is dark and beautiful, we call it sumptuous, but if it is dark and depressing, we call it gloomy. Use this chart to find adjectives that describe positive, negative, and neutral emotional responses to light and dark color values. Warm Alive and Glowing Willie Gillis Goes to College, Norman Rockwell, 1946 Copyright © 2013. Allworth Press. All rights reserved. Norman Rockwell is famous for painting quintessential scenes of postwar America. To convey a sense of nostalgia and fondness for the American experience, he typically worked with a very warm palette, as in this 1946 piece, Willie Gillis Goes to College. The subject of this painting is a young man, returned to civilian life after serving in the army and studying under the G.I. bill. His face is pumpkin orange and his ruddy cheeks are carmine pink, as he puffs contentedly at his pipe. His body and his clothes blend harmoniously into the background of woodwork, books, trees, and sky, all crafted together in tones of ivory, sienna, mahogany, and burnt umber. The colors and lines are soft and fuzzy, as if the details of the memory are not quite in focus, but the feeling of affection toward that time is unmistakable. The painting projects a warm and unvarying orange glow that creates a timeless effect, as if a pleasant fall afternoon were preserved forever in a drop of amber. Cool Cold and Detached Day, J. (2013). Line color form : The language of art and design. Allworth Press. Created from newschool on 2021-10-22 01:32:01. Self-Portrait, Vincent van Gogh, 1890 For this Van Gogh self-portrait, the artist chose to use a cool, muted palette of blues, grays, and browns, accented only by a dull persimmon orange in the figure’s beard. The shape of the man’s suit and face are roughly etched into the swirling background in free flowing lines of midnight blue, black, and indigo. The painting is tinted in such a way that there is very little distinction between the man and his surroundings. In fact, both the figure and the background are so overwhelmingly soaked in a pale cornflower blue that the painting is almost a monochromatic study of dull, cerulean emotion. It’s as if the subject’s feelings are literally coloring the world around him. These cold, detached colors, combined with the pensive facial expression and penetrating stare, work together to create an overall mood of depression and gloom. Copyright © 2013. Allworth Press. All rights reserved. Dynamic Bright and Bold Blam, Roy Lichtenstein, 1962 Day, J. (2013). Line color form : The language of art and design. Allworth Press. Created from newschool on 2021-10-22 01:32:01. Roy Lichtenstein modeled this 1962 painting on an image from a comic book. The electric energy of this jet plane explosion is equally matched by the dynamic color choices of lemon yellow, fire engine red, and cobalt blue. The rigidly defined black lines that outline the forms work together with these glaring colors to make the action jump right off the canvas and into the viewer’s face. Lichtenstein’s use of bold primary colors—red, yellow, and blue—is certainly eye-catching, but it also serves a secondary purpose: These simple colors give the painting a childish, elementary sensibility which underscores the reductionism, or dumbingdown, of pop culture that is associated with the advancement of television and other forms of passive media. This piece can be seen as a commentary on the way that pop imagery placates society, overwhelming our senses and leaving us devoid of human emotion. It is only when we step back for a moment from the intoxicating appeal of this painting’s pop-power that we become aware that this is a “fun” and “exciting” image of a man’s plane blowing up as he falls to his death. Pastel Soft and Sweet Copyright © 2013. Allworth Press. All rights reserved. Bridge over a Pond of Water Lilies, Claude Monet, 1899 Claude Monet painted this charming scene as an Impressionist representation of one of his own gardens at Giverny, France. He uses a soft and subtle combination of tea rose and peach to capture the flowering lilies, while the surrounding grasses and trees are gracefully rendered with swaying lines of mustard yellow, pale wisteria, and emerald green. The bridge itself, gently arching over the placid, reflective pond, is depicted in lavenders and periwinkle, with accents of carnation and cherry blossom pink. Monet was known for his meticulous landscaping, and his desire to create harmony between natural and architectural elements is well-illustrated in his interpretation of this bridge, which looks every bit as floral and serene as the surrounding foliage. Truly, every aspect of this garden scene is conveyed in complementary pastel colors, engendering an overall feeling of peace and stillness. It is owing to works like this one that Monet is considered the father of Impressionism, as the Day, J. (2013). Line color form : The language of art and design. Allworth Press. Created from newschool on 2021-10-22 01:32:01. lovingly dabbed traces of pigment that compose Bridge over a Pond of Water Lilies are meant to communicate a transcendent emotional experience of color and nature, rather than to sharply define and accurately reproduce reality. Earthy Hearty and Organic Copyright © 2013. Allworth Press. All rights reserved. Self-Portrait, Pablo Picasso, 1907 In this 1907 self-portrait, Pablo Picasso rendered himself as a young man in warm, earthy tones. The figure’s face, carved by bold, brown lines, stands out in sharp relief from the background of ochre and mahogany. The face itself is primarily colored with soft pigments of tan and wheat, but undertones of orange and yellow in the nose, as well as pink in the cheeks, give the figure a robust sense of life and youthful vigor. What is noteworthy from a historical perspective about this piece, painted when Picasso was in his mid-twenties, is the color and style of lines used to create the figure’s shape. The broad lines used to characterize the hair, eyes, facial features, and cut of the man’s suit are all the exact same chocolate brown tone, clearly produced by the exact same pigment in various degrees of weight and thickness. This repeated color choice reiterates the simplistic style and economy of lines used to represent physical features, a technique that would become a predominant aspect in the most celebrated works of Picasso’s oeuvre. Luxurious Deep and Rich Day, J. (2013). Line color form : The language of art and design. Allworth Press. Created from newschool on 2021-10-22 01:32:01. Danaë, Gustav Klimt, 1907 For this 1907 painting of Danaë, Gustav Klimt selected a luxurious and sensual palette of colors to create his own highly erotic version of the Greek myth. In the original story, Danaë was locked up in a cave by her father, King Acrisius, who wished to keep her childless, but his plan failed when she was impregnated by the god Zeus, who came to visit her in the form of a golden rain. Klimt captured the ripeness and fertility of Danaë’s flesh with a mixture of rich cream and rose tones layered over a foundation of darker mauves and purples to express the warm, vital blood that pulses beneath her skin. The golden god that pours between her legs is manifested in shining ivory and saffron circles and curls of electricity that glow against the coal black background. Finally, the entire love scene is wrapped in silk blankets of deepest byzantium and eggplant. These purple wrappings not only represent her royal lineage, they also suggest the dark warmth of the womb. Copyright © 2013. Allworth Press. All rights reserved. Vibrant Radiant and Energetic Day, J. (2013). Line color form : The language of art and design. Allworth Press. Created from newschool on 2021-10-22 01:32:01. Shot Orange Marilyn, Andy Warhol, 1964 This painting from Andy Warhol’s 1964 Marilyn Monroe series pulses with vibrant energy and life. Monroe’s cherry blossom pink face is ringed by a flame of lemon yellow hair, reaching a pinnacle of brightness in the pure primary yellow above her left temple, creating an effect not unlike that of staring into the sun. Her lavender eye shadow and crimson lipstick are applied in broad swaths of pigment, giving her a clown-like appearance. The circus theme is reiterated by a deeply saturated tangerine orange background, which cries like a carnival barker for the audience’s attention. But for all its sunny radiance, this is not a happy painting. The brilliant hues of the composition are at odds with the dead eyes and sedated expression of the actress. The result is a disconcerting image that captures the conflict between Monroe’s sensationalized public persona and her troubled inner life. Copyright © 2013. Allworth Press. All rights reserved. Gloomy Dark and Dreary Virgin Mary with Child and the Young Saint John the Baptist, Francisco de Zurbarán, 1662 Day, J. (2013). Line color form : The language of art and design. Allworth Press. Created from newschool on 2021-10-22 01:32:01. Copyright © 2013. Allworth Press. All rights reserved. This joyless scene of the virgin with child exemplifies the gloomy moods inspired by Francisco de Zurbarán’s somber color palette. The child is the focal point, radiating with a light that seems to extinguish almost immediately in the surrounding darkness. Mary’s robes are cast in a midnight blue fading to murky black and trailing down to the floor where a scarlet blanket has been desaturated to a lifeless rusty mahogany. The young Saint John wears a musty-looking ochre fur, and the downward-gazing sheep is rendered in hues of beige and dirty apricot. The feeling of inescapable despondency is completed by a sepia background, darkening into a vignette of bistre and seal brown. It is commonly thought that this sort of dreary Baroque color scheme was intended to communicate the seriousness of religious piety; however, to a modern eye it can seem rather depressing. Day, J. (2013). Line color form : The language of art and design. Allworth Press. Created from newschool on 2021-10-22 01:32:01. Copyright © 2013. Allworth Press. All rights reserved. Composition Day, J. (2013). Line color form : The language of art and design. Allworth Press. Created from newschool on 2021-10-22 01:32:27. CHAPTER 3 Arranging Space Composition refers to the way things are put together. In the case of two-dimensional images, it describes the way that different elements are positioned within the frame, with respect to each other and to the viewer, to create a particular impression. The organization of foreground, middle ground, and background; perspective, cropping, movement, and depth; as well as subject placement and body posture, all fall under the umbrella of “composition.” Because it is so nuanced and often very subtle, composition is perhaps the most challenging aspect of art and design to talk about, but this analysis can also be the most beneficial for deepening your understanding of form and function. Copyright © 2013. Allworth Press. All rights reserved. Organizing the Frame Day, J. (2013). Line color form : The language of art and design. Allworth Press. Created from newschool on 2021-10-22 01:32:27. Linear Perspective Slave Market with the Disappearing Bust of Voltaire, Salvador Dalí, 1940 Copyright © 2013. Allworth Press. All rights reserved. Love him or hate him, Salvador Dalí was a genius when it came to composition. Dalí employed rigorously precise perspective techniques to give his surreal images a captivating sense of hyper-reality, as in this 1940 oil painting, Slave Market with the Disappearing Bust of Voltaire. The practice of linear perspective, first employed by fifteenth-century Renaissance painters, incorporates a number of strategies that work together to trick the eye into seeing three dimensions on a two-dimensional surface. The following analysis will illustrate the key concepts that make this illusion of depth possible. focal point picture plane optical illusion 1. This painting creates the illusion that the viewer is sitting at the table next to the top-less woman, watching the bizarre scene of human passion and pain unfold before her. The painting Day, J. (2013). Line color form : The language of art and design. Allworth Press. Created from newschool on 2021-10-22 01:32:27. has a distinct center of focus in the two warped-looking, black-and-white-clad women. This focal point is positioned just left of center, presumably because placing the focus in the exact center usually creates a feeling of artificiality or fakeness. Not only does this area of the picture plane draw our attention by being the brightest section with the highest contrast, it is also the conceptual center of interest. It is here that we see the optical illusion of the painting: These figures are simultaneously a pair of women and also the face of Voltaire. Framed by the head-shaped arch behind them, the women’s faces become the two eyes of the bust and our imagination fills in the blanks, finding nose, neck, and mouth in the women’s garments. horizontal axis horizon linevanishing point Copyright © 2013. Allworth Press. All rights reserved. 2. A number of techniques come together to place the viewer of this painting at a specific vantage point. The first is that there is a clear eye level (E.L.). The woman in the foreground’s eyes are almost exactly on the same horizontal axis as the eyes of the two women in black and white, which are more or less on the same level as the eyes of the smaller figures standing under the archway. This is the same eye level that the viewer feels he or she is on when looking at the image. Other figures’ eyes may be somewhat lower or higher, as they are taller, shorter, or perhaps slightly up- or downhill, but nonetheless there is a strong sense of eye level around which everything in the image is based. Additionally there is a clear horizon line, where the hills meet the sky in the distant background. This horizon line (H.L.) is just below the eye level line, giving the viewer the impression that he is looking slightly downward on the scene. The point on the horizon line where the viewer’s eyes are focused is called the vanishing point ( V. P.). In this painting, the vanishing point is located approximately where the shirtless woman’s fingers meet the horizon line. Day, J. (2013). Line color form : The language of art and design. Allworth Press. Created from newschool on 2021-10-22 01:32:27. receding lines converging linesaerial perspective 3. On close observation, one will notice that all the lines marking the edges of objects like the red table and the stone columns point toward this vanishing point. If they were to continue, these lines, called receding lines (R.L.), or converging lines, would all meet at the vanishing point. All of these careful calculations work together to give the viewer the impression that he is sitting right there, living and breathing, inside Dalí’s dream. 4. This image also employs the technique of aerial perspective, a term first used by Leonardo da Vinci, which refers to the natural effect that distance has on color. Objects farther in the distance appear to be fainter in color, as seen in the bluish mountains, the objects at the greatest distance from the viewer’s vantage point. This subtle touch gives the painting an even greater sense of depth, as if the background truly faded all the way back to an infinitely distant horizon. Copyright © 2013. Allworth Press. All rights reserved. Relative Perspective Day, J. (2013). Line color form : The language of art and design. Allworth Press. Created from newschool on 2021-10-22 01:32:27. perspective foreground middle ground background receding The Landing of the Southern Barbarians, 16th c. Japanese screen This sixteenth-century Japanese screen has a unique sense of perspective. There is a distinct foreground, in which merchants and traders are mingling, and a well-defined background, in which a man and a woman observe the scene from a window. The elaborately detailed figures in the foreground are certainly larger than those in the background; however, the painting lacks the gradual receding of size and line that we find in the mathematical construction of Renaissance perspective. If anything, the musician and silk merchant in the nearest foreground are slightly smaller than the men in the middle ground. The overall effect is not one of threedimensional space, but rather of separate foreground, middle ground, and background planes. Movement and Depth concentric circles focal point overlapping layering depth movement Copyright © 2013. Allworth Press. All rights reserved. Tempo-Tempo, Fortschritt, Kulture (Tempo-Tempo, Progress, Culture), Marianne Brandt, 1927 This 1927 montage demonstrates several of the modern stylistic two-dimensional graphic design techniques pioneered by Bauhaus designer Marianne Brandt. The image revolves around a powerful but ambiguous machine and the smiling engineer who operates it. Two thin concentric circles surround this focal point, directing the viewer’s attention here immediately. Brandt uses the techniques of overlapping and layering, as seen in the words radiating out from this center, to create a sense of depth. The red lettering is overlapped by the machine, which is in turn overlapped by the white lettering, creating the illusion that some elements are farther away and some are closer. Similar techniques of layering, combined with a sort of aerial perspective, are used to create movement. In the upper right portion of the image, lettering is placed on top of, or hidden behind, a vertical black bar, creating the sense that the charcoal gray word “Kulture” is moving away into the background, while the bold black word “Tempo” is moving outward, toward the viewer. Day, J. (2013). Line color form : The language of art and design. Allworth Press. Created from newschool on 2021-10-22 01:32:27. Narrative in Advertisement narrative reference repetition reiteration minimal sleek Snow White, Louis Vuitton, 2002 This Louis Vuitton ad uses narrative to capture the imagination of consumers. The glossy photograph of a sleeping model references the turning point of the Snow White fairy tale— except in this version she carries her apples in a LV handbag. Color repetition is key to the success of this image. The shiny sangria-red apples are almost the exact same color as the handbag, linking the bag to the narrative, and connecting it to the symbolic passion and taboo sexuality that the apples represent in the story. This color relationship is reiterated in the apple the model holds in her hand. The red skin of the apple is the color of the handbag and the pure white inside, revealed where she took a bite, references the model’s clean white skin and dress. This reiteration further connects the apple to the model, the model to the bag, and Louis Vuitton to the fantasy. The text component of the ad is very minimal: just some store information and the brand name set in a sleek black font against a white background, as if to say, “This is Louis Vuitton; it’s beautiful; it’s sexy; there’s nothing more to say.” Copyright © 2013. Allworth Press. All rights reserved. Wordplay Day, J. (2013). Line color form : The language of art and design. Allworth Press. Created from newschool on 2021-10-22 01:32:27. heading reverse superimpose subheading wordplay double meaning negative space off-screen Back Cover, Harper’s Bazaar, 2002 This clever back cover for Harper’s Bazaar employs several standard techniques of magazine layout composition. The heading, “Harper’s Bazaar,” is written in reverse and superimposed over the back of the model’s head. Slightly below the halfway point of the picture plane is the subheading “Fashion’s back!” This witty little piece of wordplay uses the double meaning of “back” to express both the idea that fashion has returned (fashion is back) as well as the idea that we are looking at fashion’s physical backside. This sentence is the key to understanding the image and must be instantly visible, so the graphic designer superimposed it over the triangular negative spaces inside the model’s bent arms, allowing the message to stand out against the white background. Finally, the image concept is completed by the addition of hands reaching from off-screen to make last minute adjustments to the model, giving the readers a sense that we are getting a behind-the-scenes look at the fashion world. Copyright © 2013. Allworth Press. All rights reserved. The Feminine Gaze Day, J. (2013). Line color form : The language of art and design. Allworth Press. Created from newschool on 2021-10-22 01:32:27. clutch clasp frontal orientation on display gaze over the shoulder male viewer peer Venus with a Mirror, Titian, 1555 Titian’s Venus with a Mirror is unique among Renaissance nudes for its treatment of the feminine gaze. The woman’s body language at first seems to follow codified norms of this period. The way that she clutches her chest with one bejeweled hand and clasps her robe together with the other is mimicked in the posture of thousands of other European nudes. She is portrayed in a frontal orientation, with her body on display for the viewer as she gazes over her shoulder. This gentle gaze away from the viewer and toward a mirror, a lover, or simply off into the distance, creates a sense that the female subject is more of an object to be owned and enjoyed than a self-possessed person. She is not interacting with the viewer in any way— in fact, her object-hood is reiterated through her activity: passively observing her own beauty. However, in Titian’s composition, the angle of the mirror is such that the gaze of the presumably male viewer is met with a single eye, shiny, black, and intense, peering directly back at him. Seen in this way, the painting serves as a subtle precursor to the full-on confrontation that would be found in later paintings, such as Manet’s Olympia. Copyright © 2013. Allworth Press. All rights reserved. Inviting Posture Day, J. (2013). Line color form : The language of art and design. Allworth Press. Created from newschool on 2021-10-22 01:32:27. stiffly tipped back parted red lips hanging loosely rotated hips squarely locked knees leaning forward Coca-Cola magazine ads, the Coca-Cola Company, circa 1940s These World War Two era Coca-Cola illustrations exemplify the way that body posture has been used in advertisement to signify sexual availability and invitation. Notice the way that each young woman’s head is slightly tilted to the side. This understated posture serves the dual function of directing the viewer’s attention toward the raised glass of Coca-Cola while simultaneously suggesting that the woman holding the glass is available and we should “come hither” and join her. The redhead in the white uniform stands rather stiffly, with her back straight and her hand on her hip; however, her tipped back hat and parted red lips are indicators of sexual openness. The woman in the blue uniform is more casual, with her arm hanging loosely at her side and holding her gloves, a clear signal that work is finished for the day and it’s time for pleasure. Unlike the outer women, whose hips are rotated a ladylike 30 or 45 degrees away from the viewer, the woman in the center stands with her body facing squarely toward us. Her knees are locked together and she is leaning slightly forward, charming the viewer with the eager, willing playfulness of a child. Copyright © 2013. Allworth Press. All rights reserved. Awkward Confusion Day, J. (2013). Line color form : The language of art and design. Allworth Press. Created from newschool on 2021-10-22 01:32:27. wide-eyed drooping lips trembling pigeon-toed internal rotation grasping hands tension vertical format Johnny Borrell for British Vogue, Mario Testino, 2007 In this portrait of Johnny Borrell, Italian fashion photographer Mario Testino perfectly captures the insecurity and confusion of the male model. Borrell gazes wide-eyed up at the camera, his lower lip drooping and almost visibly trembling, his teeth lightly parted. He stands pigeontoed, curving his legs in an internal rotation, a posture that suggests self-protection and fear. The hands grasp awkwardly at nothing, as if he doesn’t know what to do with them. Taken from slightly above, the camera looks down upon the subject, intensifying the impression of childishness in the model’s posture. There is a discernable tension between the vertical format of the image, so often used to emphasize a model’s height and stature, contrasted against his partial nudity and vulnerability, a poignant representation of a subject uncomfortable in his own body. Copyright © 2013. Allworth Press. All rights reserved. Moody Intensity Day, J. (2013). Line color form : The language of art and design. Allworth Press. Created from newschool on 2021-10-22 01:32:27. profile hunching folded Arms glaring tilted chin pouting lips glowering piercing challenge Marlon Brando, Cecil Beaton, 1947 Copyright © 2013. Allworth Press. All rights reserved. This 1947 profile of Marlon Brando captures the depth and intensity of the actor as a young man. Brando hunches his spine, arms folded over the back of a chair, glaring at the viewer as if he were irritated at being interrupted from his reading. His shoulders creep up around his ears, indicating the actor’s desire to make a turtle-like retreat into the shell of his oversized suit. His chin is slightly tilted downward and his pouting lips hint at a deep, hidden sensitivity. But it is the eyes—glowering, piercing, burning a hole directly through the viewer’s soul—that hold the power of this photograph. Even in this frozen, timeless medium, Brando offers a visceral challenge to the viewer, asking each and every one of us a question: Are you capable of returning this stare? Day, J. (2013). Line color form : The language of art and design. Allworth Press. Created from newschool on 2021-10-22 01:32:27. Copyright © 2013. Allworth Press. All rights reserved. Material Day, J. (2013). Line color form : The language of art and design. Allworth Press. Created from newschool on 2021-10-22 01:32:55. CHAPTER 4 Surface and Structure A crucial step in every creative process is the choice of material. Material not only affects the aesthetic and physical construction of an object, it also has the power to change the symbolic meaning of a piece. Every creative field, from oil painting to interior decorating, has its own specialized set of materials, and learning how to work with these materials is a fundamental aspect of art and design education. This chapter offers the essential vocabulary needed to call materials by their proper names, as well as adjectives to describe their physical nature, their surface texture, and their state of being, from shiny and pristine to rusty and tarnished. Copyright © 2013. Allworth Press. All rights reserved. Hardness and Flexibility Surface Texture Day, J. (2013). Line color form : The language of art and design. Allworth Press. Created from newschool on 2021-10-22 01:32:55. Copyright © 2013. Allworth Press. All rights reserved. Day, J. (2013). Line color form : The language of art and design. Allworth Press. Created from newschool on 2021-10-22 01:32:55. Copyright © 2013. Allworth Press. All rights reserved. Glass Wood Day, J. (2013). Line color form : The language of art and design. Allworth Press. Created from newschool on 2021-10-22 01:32:55. Copyright © 2013. Allworth Press. All rights reserved. Metal Day, J. (2013). Line color form : The language of art and design. Allworth Press. Created from newschool on 2021-10-22 01:32:55. Copyright © 2013. Allworth Press. All rights reserved. Stone Plastic Day, J. (2013). Line color form : The language of art and design. Allworth Press. Created from newschool on 2021-10-22 01:32:55. Copyright © 2013. Allworth Press. All rights reserved. Organic Day, J. (2013). Line color form : The language of art and design. Allworth Press. Created from newschool on 2021-10-22 01:32:55. Modern Materials functionalist chrome-plated tubular steel malleable taut airy industrial Weissenhof Chair, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, 1927 Copyright © 2013. Allworth Press. All rights reserved. The Weissenhof Chair, designed for the Bauhaus by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, is a study in functionalist form. The frame is constructed from a single continuous tube of chromeplated tubular steel, and another stretch of this malleable material is wrapped around the back of the chair to form two curvilinear arms. The seat and backrest are constructed from two broad strips of leather, stretched taut over the frame and stitched together with sturdy cord. The airy form of the chair clearly reveals every detail of its design, hiding nothing, proudly displaying the industrial strength and elegance of its materials. Postmodern Polymers Day, J. (2013). Line color form : The language of art and design. Allworth Press. Created from newschool on 2021-10-22 01:32:55. transparent injection-molded polycarbonate durable infinitely reproducible adaptive Louis Ghost Chair, Philippe Starck, 2002 The Louis Ghost Chair, designed by Philippe Starck in 2002, is a transparent reinterpretation of a chair popular in the eighteenth-century court of Louis XV. Starck’s version is made from injection-molded polycarbonate, shown here in dusty rose. This durable chair takes the functionalist idea of self-expressive design a step further; its see-through material is literally incapable of hiding anything. Modeled after a chair that would have been handmade by the finest craftsmen in France three hundred years ago, this computergenerated, infinitely reproducible object is something that no one today could conceive of making with their own two hands. Plastic is the material of the postmodern thinker, as changeable and adaptive as thought itself. Copyright © 2013. Allworth Press. All rights reserved. Synthetic Armor rigid fiberglass acrylic delicate fragility diaphanous silk chiffon synthetic It’s Only a Game, Alexander McQueen, spring/summer 2005 Day, J. (2013). Line color form : The language of art and design. Allworth Press. Created from newschool on 2021-10-22 01:32:55. This ensemble from Alexander McQueen’s spring/summer 2005 collection invokes a virtual world of fantastic avatars, a space of imagination far beyond the limitations of the mundane earthly realm that we inhabit. The playful appeal of the look lies in the dynamic tension between rigid and supple materials. The fiberglass shoulder pads and helmet, emboldened by acrylic war paint, are juxtaposed against the delicate fragility of the diaphanous lavender leggings and undergarments of silk and chiffon. The defiant pose of the mannequin only adds to the empowering fantasy of a willful princess, proudly displaying her synthetic superhero armor. Organic Oddity tactile sprout mimicking speckled spiny bristles Copyright © 2013. Allworth Press. All rights reserved. Soundsuit, Nick Cave, 2010 Courtesy: Mary Boone Gallery and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York. Soundsuit, created by artist and performer Nick Cave, is a wearable sculpture that explores the tactile and visual possibilities of organic materials. The dogwood twigs that sprout from the “skin” of the costume create a luxurious and dynamic color palette. The rich burgundy bark glows brightly where it is exposed to the light, but then gradually darkens to a deep purplishchestnut in the dense folds, mimicking the appearance of animal fur. The effect is completed by the white accents that appear where the twigs have been cut, giving the surface a speckled pattern like the coat of some unknown mammal. This spiny mock-fur bristles with vital porcupine energy, simultaneously defending against attackers and attracting our eye to its natural beauty. Miniaturization Day, J. (2013). Line color form : The language of art and design. Allworth Press. Created from newschool on 2021-10-22 01:32:55. miniaturization spatial perspective extreme close-up glistening itty-bitty Lilliputian absurdity Egg Crack Crew, Christopher Boffoli, 2007 Miniaturization of the human form is often employed to humorous effect, as in this Christopher Boffoli photograph of a pair of tiny maintenance men inspecting the damage to the cracked shell of an egg. The image disrupts our ordinary sense of spatial perspective by presenting us with an extreme close-up of the glistening surface of a common hen’s egg. We as viewers must momentarily laugh at ourselves as we share a ridiculous desire to lean over one of the men’s shoulders to get a peek at whatever’s down there. Standing in their serious poses as their itty-bitty, candy-striped orange safety cone threatens to slide down the hill, these Lilliputian figures underscore the inherent absurdity of our daily occupations. Copyright © 2013. Allworth Press. All rights reserved. Oversized bronze magnified monumental sinewy marble enormous Maman, Louise Bourgeois, 1999 Day, J. (2013). Line color form : The language of art and design. Allworth Press. Created from newschool on 2021-10-22 01:32:55. Louise Bourgeois’ sculpture Maman, cast in bronze and standing nine meters tall, has been exhibited in public settings around the world. In this piece, Bourgeois has magnified the common daddy longlegs spider so that its physical size reflects our monumental psychological fear of the arachnid. Throughout history, the spider has appeared in mythology as a symbol of the all-consuming and terrible mother, and Bourgeois’ Maman (French for “mother”), with its sinewy metal limbs and drooping sack of marble eggs, has updated the archetype for the age of postindustrial anxiety. The placement of the sculpture in this sunny plaza makes the impression all the more unsettling, as though an enormous monster has escaped from a child’s nightmare and is now running loose in small-town Canada. Stone Arches durability rough-cut interlocking granite pillars tiers arches unmortared Copyright © 2013. Allworth Press. All rights reserved. Aqueduct of Segovia, Spain, Roman, first century A.D. Photo: Nicolas Perez, September 2004 A monument to the durability of Roman engineering, the Aqueduct of Segovia, constructed in the late first century A.D. to transport water to the city from a nearby river, still stands in near perfect condition today. This view from below highlights the simple elegance and strength of the design. Rough-cut interlocking granite bricks are stacked into a series of pillars that support two tiers of arches, which, in turn, support the water channel. The bricks of the aqueduct are unmortared, relying on a precisely balanced arrangement and the force of gravity to remain erect. The final result is an open and airy structure that emphasizes the strength of its materials and the sophistication of its function, not unlike the designs of the modernist revolution nearly two millennia later. Translucent Skin Day, J. (2013). Line color form : The language of art and design. Allworth Press. Created from newschool on 2021-10-22 01:32:55. polymer translucent skin channel glass semitransparent opaque Central Wing Extension to Higgins Hall, Pratt Institute School of Architecture, Steven Holl, 2005 Copyright © 2013. Allworth Press. All rights reserved. Designed by architect Steven Holl, the 2005 Central Wing Extension to Higgins Hall at Pratt Institute’s School of Architecture demonstrates the multifunctionality of a hybrid polymer and glass building material. The translucent skin of the building is constructed from thick slabs of channel glass filled with a synthetic white insulation. During the daytime, the semitransparent skin lets in a diffuse glow of natural light, while remaining opaque enough to protect the privacy of the students working inside. At night, the building glows from within, providing a safe and inviting destination for students walking through Pratt’s urban Brooklyn neighborhood. Day, J. (2013). Line color form : The language of art and design. Allworth Press. Created from newschool on 2021-10-22 01:32:55. Copyright © 2013. Allworth Press. All rights reserved. Formal Analysis Day, Jesse. Line Color Form : The Language of Art and Design, Allworth Press, 2013. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/newschool/detail.action?docID=1320630. Created from newschool on 2021-10-22 01:24:35. CHAPTER 5 What Is Formal Analysis? Formal analysis is the written or spoken process of examining what your brain does automatically when you see a painting, a photograph, a sculpture, or a design. You have an immediate reaction. Typically, this reaction first voices itself in your head as “I like it” or “I don’t like it.” But before that happens, the eye makes hundreds of observations, scanning the entire image and noting all of its various details. The brain processes all of this information, taking note of the colors, lines, materials, and composition, and then compares it against everything else you have ever seen. All this takes place in less than a second; your brain then formulates an opinion and sends a signal to your mouth to say, “That’s cool,” or “That sucks.” Conscious formal analysis is the process of slowing down what the brain does at the speed of light to the speed of observation, reflection, and communication. We look closely at an object, without jumping to any conclusions, and explore details and hidden meanings that may otherwise have eluded us. What Is the Purpose? Learning how to perform in-depth formal analysis is beneficial to students of art and design for three main reasons: Copyright © 2013. Allworth Press. All rights reserved. 1. When we first see a piece of art or design, the mind’s typical process is to make rapid observations and then quickly formulate a positive or negative opinion. Simply put, the human mind prefers to be lazy and take the easy way out, comparing everything we see to what we have seen before and forming our opinions out of habit. We don’t give things a chance to fully reveal themselves to us. However, with the careful, thorough, and studious observation of formal analysis, we are able to see things objectively, as they actually are, rather than relying on preconceived opinions. When we slow down our thinking, we can begin to deconstruct what we see into its component parts and come to understand how each aspect contributes to the whole. In this way we are able not only to fully comprehend how something was made, but also to see how our minds function and how our opinions, our individual likes and dislikes, come into existence. We begin to see objects in their completeness, and our way of experiencing the world around us evolves so that we are operating on a higher plane. 2. Formal analysis expands our potential for creativity. If we want to create anything new, we cannot fall back on old habits; we must understand what others have done and why they have done it before we can make a real contribution. Only by acquiring the ability to understand the relationship between form and function can we begin to make conscious choices and truly develop our own creativity. Day, Jesse. Line Color Form : The Language of Art and Design, Allworth Press, 2013. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/newschool/detail.action?docID=1320630. Created from newschool on 2021-10-22 01:24:35. 3. The last reason to develop a capacity for formal analysis is a matter of pure practicality. We live and work in a community. Great pieces of art and design are rarely created by individuals in complete isolation, and even if they are, the artist must interact in some way with the public. By engaging in formal analysis we can dramatically improve our ability to talk about our work. We have to know how to describe what we have made and defend our choices. Snapshots Whenever you introduce a piece that you will be analyzing, you should begin with a snapshot. A snapshot is a single sentence that describes exactly what we are looking at as clearly and concisely as possible. This is essential in formal analysis writing because it grounds us in the object in question while minimizing confusion. Don’t describe the color of the eyes, the number of legs, the pattern of the coat, and the texture of the fur before telling the reader that we are looking at a dog. When an image features a human subject, indicate who the subject is, where he or she is, and what he or she is doing. If possible, include some sense of the composition and how the subject is, or is not, relating to the viewer. Snapshot: This gritty black-and-white photograph is a closely cropped portrait of the head and upper torso of a middle-aged woman standing in front of a stone wall, gazing to the side, and wearing a sign around her neck that reads: BLIND. Copyright © 2013. Allworth Press. All rights reserved. Blind Woman, Paul Strand, 1916 In a crowded or busy scene, try to give a general sense of the aesthetic, action, and environment, without going into specific details. Snapshot: The central panel of Hieronymus Bosch’s The Garden of Earthly Delights depicts a phantasmagorical, pastel wonderland, crowded with exotic creatures and people bathing, eating, dancing, and playing together on a broad expanse of vibrant green landscape. The Garden of Earthly Delights, central panel of triptych, Hieronymus Bosch, 1510–1515 Day, Jesse. Line Color Form : The Language of Art and Design, Allworth Press, 2013. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/newschool/detail.action?docID=1320630. Created from newschool on 2021-10-22 01:24:35. With an artifact from art history, indicate the subject matter as well as the size, material, and physical condition of the object. Snapshot: Standing about two feet high, this eleventh-century Nepalese statue of the Buddha seated on a protective throne of interwoven serpents was chiseled from a single stone and, aside from some worn-down surfaces, remains today in near perfect condition. Buddha Sheltered by the Serpent King Muchalinda, Nepal, eleventh century. Photo: Stephanie Simos For a designed object, describe the form, including the materials and precise measurements. Snapshot: This clear-coated oak Muji shelving unit is composed of twenty-five identical sixteensquareinch cubbies, organized into a five by five grid with an external dimension of eighty square inches and a depth of twelve inches. Stacking Oak Shelf, Muji, 2009 Observation Copyright © 2013. Allworth Press. All rights reserved. Subjective Reaction The first stage of formal analysis is a calm and patient period of studious observation. Begin by taking in the piece as a whole and making a mental note of any emotions or sensations that arise. Does the piece make you feel excited, frightened, melancholy, bored, angry, selfrighteous, joyful? This is your subjective reaction. It is important, but it is not the ending point. Make a note of it and then try to put it aside for later. Form: Dominant colors are bright yellow and reddish-orange. Day, Jesse. Line Color Form : The Language of Art and Design, Allworth Press, 2013. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/newschool/detail.action?docID=1320630. Created from newschool on 2021-10-22 01:24:35. Function: These colors are discordant and energetic; they create a sense of tension and heat. Yellow with Red Triangle, Ellsworth Kelly, 1973. Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC. 1977.17 © Ellsworth Kelly Form and Function The next step is to break the piece into its component parts. Spend some time considering the choices that were made in terms of color, line, material, composition, size/scale, and context.1 For each element, begin by making notes about the form and then contemplate what the function of each formal detail might be. At their most basic, form asks, “What is there?” and function asks, “What does it do?” Meaning As you begin to develop a theory about what the piece means, you can relate each form and function pairing to what will become your argument. For example: The presentation of sharpedged geometric shapes in hot, vibrant colors aggressively asserts the power that minimalist composition holds over the viewer. It is helpful to use a chart to organize your observations. Form Function Copyright © 2013. Allworth Press. All rights reserved. Line: Color: Composition: Day, Jesse. Line Color Form : The Language of Art and Design, Allworth Press, 2013. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/newschool/detail.action?docID=1320630. Created from newschool on 2021-10-22 01:24:35. Size/Scale: Material: Copyright © 2013. Allworth Press. All rights reserved. Context: Dance at Bougival, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, 1882–1883 Day, Jesse. Line Color Form : The Language of Art and Design, Allworth Press, 2013. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/newschool/detail.action?docID=1320630. Created from newschool on 2021-10-22 01:24:35. Form Line: soft, broad brushstrokes -blended lines, blurred, no sharp definition Function -soft focus of a memory; conveys experience rather than precise reproduction of physical space -approximates motion and mood Color: black/navy blue suit coupled with cream/tea rose pink -balance of male and female energy, like a yin-yang dress -energetic, dynamic, excitement around the couple’s heads; focal point -scarlet red hat next to saffron golden yellow hat -expresses nature and human emotion Palette: earthy/pastel -subtly complements the couple, does not fight for attention; fact that Background: unsaturated tan, ochre, sepia, baby blue, background has same color saturation as couple makes for a completely cornflower blue, navy blue, lavender, periwinkle, kelly green, uniform scene with little contrast between couple and environment; couple is chartreuse, mustard yellow, cherry blossom pink, tawny part of environment orange, burnt umber -couple is the undeniable focus; positioning slightly to right side feels Composition: couple dominates frame; slightly to the right of natural, not staged, and creates window to background activity center; focal point is woman’s face in top third of frame -viewer is a voyeur, not a participant; subjects are unaware of us as we watch -figures gaze toward each other and down at the ground them; like reading a story with an omniscient narrator Size/Scale: 70 ⅝ x 37 ¾ inches Copyright © 2013. Allworth Press. All rights reserved. -subjects are approximately 4–4 ½ feet tall; about threequarters scale to human size -painting is about as tall as a person, large enough to make a strong impression, but intimate enough for a very human experience -we feel we are peering into a slightly smaller world than our own; something not quite touchable Material: oil on canvas -oil allows for naturalistic luster, reflective, shiny quality notable in the woman’s face and man’s suit; oil paint is good for blending pigments to create soft focus and blurred transitions Context: museum, traveling around world; prominently positioned in Renoir exhibitions -piece is considered to be a great work of Impressionism and one of Renoir’s most important paintings Organization From Large to Small Day, Jesse. Line Color Form : The Language of Art and Design, Allworth Press, 2013. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/newschool/detail.action?docID=1320630. Created from newschool on 2021-10-22 01:24:35. Once you have finished recording your observations, you will need to think about how to organize your ideas into paragraphs and ultimately into an essay. A good rule of thumb is to always go from large to small. Another way of saying this is to always move from the general to the specific. Begin with the details that you find most obvious and striking and then gradually zoom in on more nuanced, subtle observations. Single Paragraph Analysis If your formal analysis is intended be just one paragraph within a larger essay, begin that paragraph with a snapshot and then focus on whichever details are most relevant to your overall discussion. Discuss line, color, composition, material, etc., only insofar as they are important to the subject of your paper. Copyright © 2013. Allworth Press. All rights reserved. Structuring the Essay If you are writing an entire essay based on the analysis of a single piece of art or design, a very useful organizational strategy is to designate one paragraph for each aspect you will be discussing: one paragraph for color, another for line, another for material, etc. If you are writing a compare and contrast essay about more than one piece, this can still be an excellent method of organization—comparing color in one paragraph, composition in the next, and so on. Remember to begin with large, general topics before proceeding to smaller, more specific ones. The order of the paragraphs will vary in different essays depending on which formal elements are most important for your subject. Here is a sample outline: Day, Jesse. Line Color Form : The Language of Art and Design, Allworth Press, 2013. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/newschool/detail.action?docID=1320630. Created from newschool on 2021-10-22 01:24:35. Note that after zooming in as far as possible to examine specific details, one should zoom back out in the conclusion to consider why the piece matters within a broader context. Meaning Tone of Voice Copyright © 2013. Allworth Press. All rights reserved. When you are writing a formal analysis, you are uncovering connections between form and function, and through this process you are generating meaning. When you indicate the significance of various details to the reader, don’t overuse words like “means” and “shows.” There are many wonderful verbs in the English language which can be used to communicate a wide range of moods as well as meanings. Instead of “means” and “shows,” give some of these a try: Gentle Forceful expresses suggests indicates implies imparts illustrates alludes to hints at proves proclaims exposes signifies symbolizes represents references reiterates Day, Jesse. Line Color Form : The Language of Art and Design, Allworth Press, 2013. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/newschool/detail.action?docID=1320630. Created from newschool on 2021-10-22 01:24:35. conveys carries communicates reminds denotes connotes exemplifies epitomizes Examples: The dove in the foreground of the painting symbolizes peace. The human skull on the table next to the monk represents death. The pale blue background conveys a sense of melancholy. The bold, black lettering against a clean, white background epitomizes the modern aesthetic. The expanding sweat rings in each of his armpits indicate that he is quite nervous. The piercing intensity of the subject’s eyes exposes his inner turmoil. The downward strokes of rusty orange and tawny brown pigment suggest the falling leaves of autumn. The unnatural red of the model’s lips denotes that she has applied a heavy layer of lipstick. In Chinese cultures, the color red typically connotes luck. The lion skin hanging above the mantle alludes to the myth of Hercules. The rising sun behind the weary soldiers hints at the possibility of redemption. The wildly splattered brushstrokes reference the action painting of Jackson Pollock. The rigid straight lines of the structure proclaim the power of minimalist geometry. The circle signifies the feminine. The soft organic lines of the chair carry a more humanistic design philosophy. The luscious pink and red flowers imply the blossoming of womanhood. Her sullen eyes communicate a deep dissatisfaction with her role in life. The whimsical, flowing brushstrokes impart a feeling of joyful elation. Formal Analysis Essay Copyright © 2013. Allworth Press. All rights reserved. Dance at Bougival: The Enchanting World of Renoir Painted between 1882 and 1883, Dance at Bougival is one of the crowning achievements of Impressionist Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s career. The piece exemplifies Renoir’s brilliance as a master of mood, deftly blending color and composition to engender not only an image, but an experience of human emotion. The subject of the painting is a man and a woman, dancing in a gentle embrace at an outdoor celebration. Although the interplay of tension and intimacy between the male and female subjects is captivating in itself, what is most remarkable about the piece is the way that Renoir’s delicate brush has rendered the couple as an inseparable part of the scene, seamlessly woven into their environment, vibrantly alive, eternally present in this moment. Dance at Bougival glows with a soft and earthy pastel color palette. The dancing couple is awash in a sea of unsaturated hues; Kelly green, chartreuse, and mustard yellow brushstrokes mingle overhead with touches of baby blue and lavender, while streaks of tan and ochre scurry below. The couple themselves, who are positioned in the foreground and dominate nearly three-quarters of the frame, stand out because of the color of their clothing. The woman’s dress is a creamy tea-rose pink and the man’s suit is a blend of rich navy blue and charcoal. The two Day, Jesse. Line Color Form : The Language of Art and Design, Allworth Press, 2013. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/newschool/detail.action?docID=1320630. Created from newschool on 2021-10-22 01:24:35. Copyright © 2013. Allworth Press. All rights reserved. complement each other like the halves of a yin-yang, a perfect balance of male and female energy. However, unlike the yin-yang symbol, which is commonly depicted in harshly contrasting black and white, this couple is rendered in softer, more ambiguous tones that seem to flow into each other and melt into their surroundings. The one element that clashes with the easy harmony of the scene is the couple’s headwear. Her scarlet red bonnet collides with his saffron golden yellow hat to create an energetic focal point in the upper portion of the frame. Our eye is drawn again and again to the dynamic excitement that these primary colors elicit around the couple’s heads as the man leans in to steal a kiss, and the woman looks demurely away. Along with the soft and sweet colors, Renoir’s treatment of line enhances the emotional impact of the piece. Unlike the rigidly defined lines that had been used for centuries in European oil painting to construct a convincing illusion of reality, Renoir’s lines are smudged and blurry. Around the border of the woman’s dress there is a shimmer of pale blue, approximating the movement of dance. The couple’s hands come together in a gentle melding of pigment. It is difficult to see exactly where one ends and the other begins. The figures in the background are rendered with broad brushstrokes; a few pink blotches convey rosy cheeks and a couple of brown smudges form a jacket. Meanwhile, the trees sway above the scene, blending into the sky as green and blue swipes of pigment overlap and are layered on top of each other. It would seem that the goal was not so much to create an accurate representation of physical reality, but rather to paint with the fuzzy focus of a memory. Despite Renoir’s deliberate fabrication of an unrealistic vision, there is a certain “realness” to the characters that is made possible because of the quality of the material itself: oil paint. The oil in the paint imbues the image with a lustrous shine, reflecting light in much the same way that material objects reflect light in the physical world. The woman’s face, although depicted with idealized simplicity, glows with real life. The man’s yellow straw hat is painted with obviously visible brushstrokes—nothing like the sharp reality of a photograph —yet where the brim catches the light of the sun, it shines just like a real hat. It is in this odd double vision that we discover the magic of Renoir’s paintings. This lovely little scene is not, never was, and never will be. And yet here it is before us. The real emotional connection we feel with these colorful characters belies the fact that they do not exist. The image Renoir has painted resonates in our minds in much the same way our thoughts, emotions, dreams, and memories do, so real to us and yet so intangible. With its delicately balanced colors and gently caressing lines, Dance at Bougival offers a vision of pleasure that entices and invites the viewer. We long to cast away the dull shackles of our lives and join the party, to give up everything for just one merry drink at the table, just one dance, just one kiss. Even the size of the painting intensifies our yearning to fulfill this impossible desire. With a vertical dimension of just under six feet, the dancing figures stand about four and a half feet tall, three-quarters human size. The scale is somehow distancing. We feel as though we are peering into a wonderfully vibrant world that is slightly smaller than our own. The effect is whimsical and somehow melancholy—a longing for a beautiful moment that will exist forever just outside of our reach. Day, Jesse. Line Color Form : The Language of Art and Design, Allworth Press, 2013. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/newschool/detail.action?docID=1320630. Created from newschool on 2021-10-22 01:24:35. Trend Research Essay: Outline Introduction 55-Minute Retro-Timer, Dulton Co., Ltd., 2010 • Introduce trend of modern kitchenware with a retro look • Compare to other trends: efficiency, convenience, like microwave • Mention materials: silicone, Teflon, stainless steel Thesis: Retro-modern kitchenware products attempt to find their way into the hearts and homes of consumers by giving technologically advanced twenty-first-century materials a mid-twentieth-century makeover. Body Paragraph 1: Timer • Introduce first product: Dulton Company’s 55-Minute Retro-Timer • Formal Analysis of product’s appearance and function • Transition to color: Minty, emerald green. Explain why this color is the selling point, appealing to consumer’s feelings of nostalgia Body Paragraph 2: Pan • Introduce second product: Bialetti 10-inch Nonstick Frying Pan • Formal Analysis: Materials: Teflon, steel. Line: Art-Deco handle. Color: banana yellow opposite of sleek black Teflon pans from 1990s • Transition: Ornamental details are functional, but also try to appeal to consumers who want old-fashioned, classic look Copyright © 2013. Allworth Press. All rights reserved. Body Paragraph 3: Spoon • Introduce third product: Tovolo Silicone Mixing Spoon Quote: George Marcus: “simple, honest, direct . . . expressive of material” • Demonstrate how the company tries to promote the greatness of the design and material by quoting text from the packaging • Contrast modern, functional marketing with strawberry pink color choice • Show that company is trying to appeal to intellect and emotion Conclusion • Present theory on reason for this trend: new generation of young professionals Day, Jesse. Line Color Form : The Language of Art and Design, Allworth Press, 2013. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/newschool/detail.action?docID=1320630. Created from newschool on 2021-10-22 01:24:35. Trend Research Essay Copyright © 2013. Allworth Press. All rights reserved. Retro-Modern Kitchenware In today’s fast-paced consumer society, kitchenware designers are working overtime to develop products that will motivate customers to actually spend the time to cook a good, oldfashioned meal. While some branches of the industry have followed in the footsteps of the microwave, focusing on designing products that increase cooking convenience and efficiency, other companies have hedged their bets on appealing to consumers’ emotions, namely their nostalgia for a simpler time of warm chocolate chip cookies at Grandma’s house and chicken dinners on Sundays. A visit to any one of the hip kitchenware stores that have sprouted up all over America’s metropolitan areas will reveal a distinct trend toward retro aesthetics. What is fascinating about this trend from a design history point of view is the way in which products manufactured from cutting-edge contemporary materials like silicone and Teflon mask their “newness” behind curvilinear Art-Deco design and retro-pastel colors that harken back to the 1950s. Let’s take a closer look at a few products that attempt to find their way into the hearts and homes of consumers by giving highly functional twenty-first-century materials a midtwentieth-century makeover. The first product that caught my eye when I walked into Whisk, a high-end kitchenware boutique in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, was the Dulton Company’s 55- Minute Retro-Timer. The timer is about the size of a hockey puck, with a disk-shaped face, and is composed of a stainless steel ring with a Plexiglas cover and set on a flattened, semispherical base. The base is made of color-coated steel and shaped a bit like an antique fire alarm. Beneath the Plexiglas cover is the user interface, which has a cream background and the words “Round Timer” written in an antique, red font, and the trademark “DULTON CO., LTD.” written in black. There is a red steel indicator needle and the numbers zero through fifty-five are spaced evenly by fives around the perimeter. To set the timer, one just has to twist the steel ring clockwise— although the Whisk salesman did have to explain to me that you must twist the needle all the way to the 55 mark before setting it to your desired time because the timer was, in his words, “old-fashioned.” When the timer goes off it emits a loud, jarring ring as an actual steel hammer beats on an actual steel bell inside the timer’s body, producing a satisfyingly analog sound in an increasingly digital world. One final functional element is the strong magnet on the back of the timer, which allows it to be affixed to a stove or refrigerator. But the functionality of the product was not what attracted me; I was sold on the color. The Retro-Timer came in three different shades. There was a mustard yellow and a candy apple red, but the one that came home with me was the green. It wasn’t just any green; it was a creamy, minty, emerald green; 1965 Buick green; the exact same green as my grandmother’s toaster oven. Like most modern city dwellers, I don’t bake, and if I did bake I would probably try to use my cell phone as a timer, and I would probably get distracted texting or playing Ms. Pac-Man and end up burning the brownies. Whether or not this new kitchen timer will inspire me to bake more often or with more success remains to be seen, but the 55-Minute Retro-Timer did its job of convincing me to pay $10 plus tax to have it on my fridge. Day, Jesse. Line Color Form : The Language of Art and Design, Allworth Press, 2013. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/newschool/detail.action?docID=1320630. Created from newschool on 2021-10-22 01:24:35. Copyright © 2013. Allworth Press. All rights reserved. The next product to attempt to seduce me into imagining that I would actually cook was a yellow Bialetti 10-Inch Nonstick Frying Pan. While the interior of the frying pan’s concave basin is all space-age technological innovation, with glossy, black, Teflon-coated steel curving gently up to the perimeter, the exterior is a whole other story. The outside of the body, as well as the handle, are a sparkly banana yellow, the kind of yellow that makes one think of sundresses and lemonade, birds chirping in the window, and fresh-squeezed orange juice in the morning. This is a yellow that takes a stand against the functional black that these ubiquitous Teflon pans have been cast in since their invention. The shape of the handle is also slightly more ornamental than that of a typical frying pan. The handle curves upward, narrows slightly, and then fans outward toward its end. This curvature is not only functional, allowing for a nice grip at the narrow part between the thumb and the forefinger, it also gives the pan a gentle, curvilinear shape that is reminiscent of Art-Deco design. One final object that found its way into my shopping cart by appealing to my sense of nostalgia was a deceptively simple silicone mixing spoon made by a Seattle– based company called Tovolo. The spoon’s design is nothing more than an eight-inch long, stainless steel elliptical cylinder that terminates in a firm, cherry blossom pink silicone head, oval-shaped and about four inches in diameter. Design critic George H. Marcus, in his treatise on functionalism, states that “objects made to be used should be simple, honest and direct . . . and expressive of their structure and materials.”1 This spoon’s simple design is practically screaming, “Look at my materials!”—and, in fact, the glory of these materials is reiterated in the packaging. Attached to the spoon is a stiff, waxed-plastic label that expounds on the spoon’s merits. “Stainless steel handle with silicone spoon designed for comfort and durability,” it declares in evenly spaced, sans-serif white font, set against a Kelly green background. It could have been a description from the MoMA design store. Turn the label over and it has even more to say about itself: “Oval handle fits comfortably in your hand, head of the spoon is pure silicone, will not discolor or hold aromas,” it states in proud bullet points. “Heat resistant to 600° F/300° C,” it proclaims. The packaging goes to great lengths to make sure the consumer understands exactly how modern, functional, and wonderful it is, but when my eyes first fell upon the spoon I could only think of two words: strawberry shortcake. The label tells you that this is a technologically advanced product of the future, but the color says that when you scrape your mixing bowl and lick the unbaked cookie dough off of this spoon, it’s going to taste exactly like it used to when you were six years old, baking cookies with your mother. This new trend of retro-modern cookware coincides with the coming of age of a new generation of high-end consumers. Young professionals in their late twenties and early thirties, just beginning to have enough money to shop at places like Whisk, are extremely technologically savvy and will not accept anything less than perfect functionality; however, they are wary of the ultra-sleek modern design that they associate with ’80s and ’90s yuppies. Couple this aversion to the un-cool recent past with an intense nostalgic desire to hold on to their fading childhoods, and it’s no surprise that hip product designers are developing functionalist objects with classic, old-fashioned looks. Day, Jesse. Line Color Form : The Language of Art and Design, Allworth Press, 2013. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/newschool/detail.action?docID=1320630. Created from newschool on 2021-10-22 01:24:35. Compare and Contrast Essay: Outline “Identical twins, Roselle, N.J.,” Diane Arbus, 1967 “A young man and his girlfriend with hot dogs in the park, N.Y.C.,” Diane Arbus, 1971 Copyright © 2013. Allworth Press. All rights reserved. Introduction • Introduce Diane Arbus: Freaks, 1960s, New York • Discuss normality in Arbus’s work. What is normal? • Snapshot of each photo: 1. The first photograph depicts a set of identical twin girls, standing in front of a concrete wall, holding hands, and staring directly at the camera. 2. The second photograph is of a disheveled-looking young couple standing in Central Park, holding hot dogs and looking despondently at the camera. Thesis: These photographs are notable both for the captivating encounters they facilitate between the viewers and the subjects and for how the formal composition and printing Day, Jesse. Line Color Form : The Language of Art and Design, Allworth Press, 2013. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/newschool/detail.action?docID=1320630. Created from newschool on 2021-10-22 01:24:35. heighten the mood and emotive power of the moments Arbus has captured. Body Paragraph 1: Subject Matter • Topic sentence: In both photographs, the subject matter makes us question our judgments of ourselves and others. • How viewers identify with “Identical twins”: Arbus’s most famous photograph forces viewers to contemplate normal versus not-normal, self versus not-self. • “A young man and his girlfriend”: We identify with couple’s disappointment, depression, and uncertainty. • Transition: We can learn more by formally analyzing these images and attempting to discover what makes them so powerful. Body Paragraph 2: Saturation and Contrast • “Identical twins”: Rich blacks and high contrast; subjects look bright and alive. • “A young man and his girlfriend”: Gray and muted tones make the couple look despondent and dead; their identities are not well defined and they blend into the background. Body Paragraph 3: Composition • Similar composition: Both have a focal point to the right of center. • Holding hands: Twins are connected all along their bodies, almost look conjoined. The couple in the park have linked arms, but the distance between them makes them seem awkward and unsure about their relationship. • Both photographs cut off the figures at the knees so that they look uncomfortably close. The viewer cannot escape. Quote: “There are things nobody would see unless I photographed them.”1 Copyright © 2013. Allworth Press. All rights reserved. Body Paragraph 4: Materials • The photographs were taken with a Rolleiflex medium format twin-lens reflex camera, which is held in front of the chest, allowing the photographer to engage with subjects faceto-face. • Unusual perspective relates to the idea of questioning our usual, “normal” way of seeing the world. Conclusion • Arbus’s work exposes the blurred boundaries between truth, reality, and subjective human experience to show that nothing is absolute and “normal” does not exist. Compare and Contrast Essay Identity and Normality: The Photography of Diane Arbus Day, Jesse. Line Color Form : The Language of Art and Design, Allworth Press, 2013. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/newschool/detail.action?docID=1320630. Created from newschool on 2021-10-22 01:24:35. Copyright © 2013. Allworth Press. All rights reserved. Diane Arbus made a name for herself in the 1960s by taking candid pictures of transvestites, nudists, giants, dwarves, circus performers, the mentally disabled, and all those who fell under the decidedly politically incorrect umbrella term “freaks.” Throughout her career and posthumous legacy she has received much attention for her controversial photographs, which strike such a delicate balance between humanizing and exploiting her subjects. However, what is less discussed is her body of work dealing with “normal” subjects: everyday Americans, hairdressers, children at weddings, and families walking in the park. These photographs are the key to understanding Arbus’s work not only because they provide the counterbalance that begs the question, “What is normal?” but also because they allow us to view the subtle quality of her art without the distraction of more scandalous subject matter. There are two photographs in particular that stand out for the strangeness of their normalcy: “Identical twins, Roselle, N.J.” (1967) and “A young man and his girlfriend with hot dogs in the park, N.Y.C. “ (1971). The first photograph depicts a set of identical twin girls, standing in front of a concrete wall, holding hands, and staring directly at the camera. The second photograph is of a disheveled-looking young couple standing in Central Park, holding hot dogs and looking despondently at the camera. These photographs are notable both for the captivating encounters they facilitate between the viewers and the subjects and for how the formal composition and printing heighten the mood and emotive power of the moments Arbus has captured. Both of these photographs confront us with unsettling subject matter that causes us as viewers to question our own judgments about ourselves and others. “Identical twins” is perhaps Diane Arbus’s most famous photograph because of the way it deals with the nature of identity and perception. Identical twins are simultaneously a strange natural phenomenon and something we accept in society as normal. The way these two stare at us—one faintly smiling, the other with a tight-lipped little frown—invokes our cultural anxiety over normal versus notnormal, self versus not-self, which is the primary focus of much of Arbus’s oeuvre. “A young man and his girlfriend,” although not as well known, also forces viewers to consider the basic question of identity and ego. There is nothing “wrong” with this couple, standing arm in arm eating hot dogs. They are not deformed or monstrous in any way, nor are they behaving outside of social norms, unlike so many of Arbus’s subjects; they are just a grumpy-looking young couple holding hot dogs in a park. And yet there is something very unsettling about them. Perhaps the way they stare vacantly at the viewer expresses a lack of certainty about identity, forcing us to consider our own discomfort with our personal attempts to project a satisfactory self-image out into the world. Perhaps we see a little too much of ourselves in this young man and woman, wearing clothes that are slightly out of style, eating processed foods, and seeming to express a sort of dissatisfaction with their relationship and current economic status. How these two images affect different viewers, of course, is something about which we can only speculate; however, there is some knowledge to be gained through a formal analysis of these images and an attempt to discover what makes them so powerful. Although we typically attribute our immediate emotional reactions to how we identify with the subject matter, there are other, more subtle artistic aspects that contribute to our experience Day, Jesse. Line Color Form : The Language of Art and Design, Allworth Press, 2013. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/newschool/detail.action?docID=1320630. Created from newschool on 2021-10-22 01:24:35. Copyright © 2013. Allworth Press. All rights reserved. of these photographs. One such aspect is the way that color saturation affects the moods of the pieces. Both of these images are black-andwhite silver gelatin prints, but they were printed differently to yield very different results. “Identical twins” is very high-contrast, with rich blacks and brilliant whites. The little girls look crisp and sharp; their matching dresses and wavy dark hair are well defined against the white background. This printing choice heightens the sense of liveliness and the spark of energy in the girls’ eyes. The clear sharp lines that outline the girls’ faces and separate them from the background reiterate their proud selfpossession. In contrast, “A young man and his girlfriend” is muted and gray. The couple’s charcoal-colored clothing and their dim faces seem to blend into the background. Their blurry hands look almost as though they were made of the same material as the grainy cement path behind them. Their faces are soft and fuzzy, much like the dull and dazed look in their eyes. The young man and woman seem tired and disinterested and this mood is so greatly enhanced by the lack of contrast between the subjects and the background that they look like they are barely even there. In both cases, the effects of shading and contrast recall very distinct, very familiar states of mind. Whereas the moods of these two images are dramatically different, the compositional techniques are almost identical. Both photographs depict a pair of people who are connected to each other in some fashion, and in both cases the subjects are positioned slightly to the right of center. This off-center placement is a classic composition and makes the scene look more natural than if the subject appeared in the exact center. The twins are not holding hands, but have their arms leaning flush against each other, creating a seamless continuity between their bodies. This body positioning captures the mysterious connection between twins and also makes them look almost conjoined, suggesting, but not overtly, the taboo of deformity. In contrast, the young couple in the park is linked arm in arm, but slightly distanced, with a sliver of space between them. Whether real or perceived, this distance implies some degree of tension or disconnection in their relationship. A final compositional choice, and a Diane Arbus trademark, is the way that the legs are cut off in both photographs. Arbus cropped these photographs in such a way that the heads are very close to the top of the frame, and the legs run into the bottom of the frame, with the feet and floor cut off and out of sight. This has the effect of making the subjects seem uncomfortably close to the viewer. The twin girls and the couple in the park are right in your face, forcing you to reckon with them and consider them. In Arbus’s own words, “It’s very subtle and a little embarrassing to me, but I really do believe there are things which nobody would see unless I photographed them.” This close-cropping technique reflects Arbus’s entire conceptual framework, which exposes both “freaks” and those we might consider “normal” and insists that we, the audience, take a closer look and reconsider our preconceived notions about other people. A work of art can be considered the point of intersection between three forces: the artist, her subject, and her material. Arbus’s subject was human identity, and her material was a Rolleiflex medium format twin-lens reflex camera. This boxy camera design featured a viewfinder on the top, so that the photographer could hold the camera at waist-level, as opposed to the traditional eye-level camera. This not only gave Arbus a unique low-angle Day, Jesse. Line Color Form : The Language of Art and Design, Allworth Press, 2013. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/newschool/detail.action?docID=1320630. Created from newschool on 2021-10-22 01:24:35. perspective, it also allowed her to engage face-toface with her subjects while creating their portraits, making a more personal connection possible than what could be achieved with the photographer hiding behind the lens. The resulting unnatural angle increases the awkwardness of the encounters that Arbus photographed. It also tends to put the viewers on the same level as the subjects, neither looking down on them nor up at them. Although this perspective seems to reflect a desire to create equality between viewer and subject, it is impossible to know to what extent Arbus’s conceptual choices are the result of this feature of her camera and to what extent she sought out this particular tool to achieve her desired result. Either way, the use of a camera angle that is not “normal” compels us again to contemplate the increasingly slippery slope of normality. Arbus’s photographs allow us to take a moment to step outside of ourselves and look at the world literally from a different point of view. This kind of out-of-body experience not only causes us to question all of our assumptions about the world, it also compels us to ask ourselves what makes us, the people on the other side of the lens, so supposedly normal. There is a long-standing debate as to whether photography has some special ability, which other art forms lack, to capture reality or truth. When we look at photographs like Diane Arbus’s from the late ’60s and early ’70s, it becomes clear that, in fact, photographs can always be manipulated to express a photographer’s particular vision of truth. We have seen in “Identical twins” and “A young man and his girlfriend” how saturation, contrast, and camera angle all affect the mood of a photograph, and how the meaning can be changed through cropping. However, it is important to realize that this does not make the images any less real, or “true”; it simply illustrates the subjective nature of all perception. For Arbus, the very inability of human beings to agree on what is real and what is unreal, to accurately label any event as “normal” or “abnormal,” or even to define our own identity within the greater context of life on earth, is the greatest truth, and one that must be exposed. Frequently Asked Questions Copyright © 2013. Allworth Press. All rights reserved. FAQs Can formal analysis include my opinion? Yes and no. Formal analysis is not exactly fact and it’s not exactly opinion. It is observation and response. It must be noted, though, that formal analysis is not just a bunch of “I like this” and “I don’t like that.” That kind of writing is the result of lazily falling back on the old habits of the mind. You are encouraged, however, to describe your experience of how various formal aspects work or don’t work together: how, for example, one color doesn’t complement another color; how the composition has a calming sense of balance; or how soft lines beautifully Day, Jesse. Line Color Form : The Language of Art and Design, Allworth Press, 2013. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/newschool/detail.action?docID=1320630. Created from newschool on 2021-10-22 01:24:35. express a melancholy mood. Generally, in academic writing, it is best to avoid or at least minimize the use of the pronoun “I.” However, this does not mean you cannot express your opinion. Trust in the power of adjectives. Describing something ugly as “garish” and “gaudy,” or something beautiful as “enchanting” and “exquisite,” is much more powerful than writing “I like it” or “I don’t like it.” We are all individuals. We come from different cultures and families and have different personal histories, so our responses to a given work of art will also be unique. Formal analysis is not quite opinion, yet it is

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