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Unit 2 Chapter 2

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Ashley Bell

on 27 August 2014

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Transcript of Unit 2 Chapter 2

Formal Elements of Art
Principles of Composition
Unit 2
Chapter 2

=the basic units of visual art
The arrangement of the formal elements in a work of art is called composition.
How would you describe the following artwork with terms from the formal elements and principles of composition?

Unity - overall cohesion within an artwork.
Variety - the element of difference within an artwork.

Jacob Lawrence. Going Home 1946.

=placing elements so that their visual weights seem evenly distributed.

Symmetrical balance - visual weight is distributed evenly.

Principles of composition:

Linear perspective - theory that parallel lines appear to converge as they recede.

They seem to meet on the horizon line.

The horizon line corresponds to the viewer’s eye.

Shape - 2-d visual entity.

Regular shapes are geometric - circle, square, triangle, hexagon…
Irregular shapes are organic or biomorphic.

Pattern functions as decoration:

wrapping paper


fabric design

Simulated texture mimics reality.

Color - visible in refracted light, a spectrum of color, like a rainbow.

Shading or modeling - manipulating gradations in values, creating the appearance of natural light.

Cross-contours - repeated lines around an object and express its 3-dimensionality.

Contour lines mark the edges of a 3-d object with varying line thickness and with some internal detail.

Outline - follows the edges of a silhouette of a 3-d form with uniform line thickness.

Line quality expresses a range of emotions, fragility, roughness, anger, whimsy…

light and value
texture and pattern
shape and volume
time and motion

– one or more focal points in an artwork.

When there are several focal points, lesser ones are called accents.

Edgar Degas. Jockeys Before the Race 1878.

- the size of one part in relation to another within a work of art.

- the size of something in relation to what we assume to be normal.

2.33 Claes Oldenburg, Coosje van Bruggen, and Frank O. Gehry. The Binocular Entrance to the Chiat Building, 1985–1991. Venice, California.

-the repetition of carefully placed elements.

Asymmetrical balance - careful distribution of uneven elements.

Complex illusions of space are created through:

perspective - the illusion of depth on a flat picture plane.

atmospheric perspective (or aerial perspective) refers to the light, bleached-out, fuzzy handling of distant forms to make them seem far away.
Planar space the height and width of the picture surface.

Space that relates to art: the space in 2-d artwork the space of sculpture and architecture, the area it occupies and the voids it contains the space of performance art, installation, and intermedia work.

2.23, above right Giorgio de Chirico. The Morning Anxiety, 1912. Oil on canvas, 32” X 25". MaRT.

Volume is 3-dimensional, can be:





2.19 Martin Puryear. That Profile, 1997–1999. Stainless steel, bronze, 540" × 360" × 136". Getty Museum, Los Angeles.

Visual texture is illusionary.

…illusions of lustrous satin, bristly hay, and fluffy clouds…

Texture a surface characteristic that is tactile or visual.

Tactile texture consists of physical surface variations that can be perceived by touch.

Color perception is relative, we see colors differently depending on their surroundings.

Natural light is constantly changing, so, color is constantly changing.

Complementary - opposites on the color wheel.

Primary - red, yellow, and blue.

Mix Primary + Primary= Secondary
Secondary - orange, green, violet.

Mix Primary + Secondary= Tertiary
Tertiary - blue-green etc...

Properties of color:
Hue: pure state of color
Value: lightness and darkness
Intensity: brightness or dullness of a hue.
Synonyms - chroma and saturation.

A completely black sculpture, but we still see a range of values.

2.10 Louise Nevelson. Mirror Image I, 1969. Painted wood, 1173/4" × 210 1/2" × 21". Collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas.

In 2-D art, value represents various levels of light.

Value - one step on a gradation from light and dark.

Tone - another word for value.

Value - also associated with color: red can be lighter or darker.

Value with Color:
Black added to a hue = shade
White added to a hue = tint

Light - basis for vision

Light - necessary for art.

Light - energy stimulates the eyes and brain.

Natural - sun, moon, stars, lightning, and fire…

Artificial - Incandescent, fluorescent, neon, laser

2.7, Bruce Nauman. Human/Need/Desire, 1983. Neon tubing, transformer and wire, 7' 103/8" × 70 1/2" × 25 1/4". The Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Many thin, parallel lines create the illusion of a gray tone, parallel lines layered on top of each other create darker gray tones.

Lines can produce tones, or values, as in parallel lines of hatching.

Parallel lines in layers is crosshatching.

Typographical Map Example
Cross Contour is very similar!

Compare - Utagawa Kunisada. Shoki the Demon Queller,
c.1849–1853. Woodblock print, 14" × 9 1/2". Burrell Collection, Glasgow.
With Paul Klee, They’re Biting, 1920.
Drawing and oil on paper, 121/4" × 91/4". Tate Gallery, London.

Gesture lines - rapid, sketchy marks mimicking the movement of human eyes when examining a subject.

Lines have direction:






2.4 Paul Klee. They’re Biting, 1920. Drawing and oil on paper, 121/4" × 91/4". Tate Gallery, London.

Motion is integral to film/video, interactive digital art, kinetic sculpture, and performance.

Time and motion are related, motion cannot exist without time. Motion marks the passage of time.

2.27, Cai Guo-Qiang. Black Rainbow: Explosion Project for Valencia, Spain, 2005.

Time is the period that viewers study and absorb an artwork.

Motion is implied by:

rhythmic repetition of abstracted forms
descending arrangement of elements from the upper left down to the lower right.

Multipoint perspective - the dark structure seems to sink into the ground, the white building stretches back to the horizon, resulting in an illogical depiction of space.

2.24, Giorgio de Chirico. The Morning Anxiety, 1912. Oil on canvas, 32” X 25". MaRT

Geometric patterns have regular elements
spaced at regular intervals.

2.17, Blanket. Tlingit people, Chilkat style. Mountain goat wool and cedar bark, 31" × 71", excluding fringe. The Newark Museum, Newark, New Jersey.

Pattern - a configuration with a repeated visual form.

Natural patterns occur in leaves, flowers, clouds, wave patterns...etc...

Abstracted texture based on existing texture that has been simplified.

Invented texture a product of human imagination.

The lion’s mane is an example of abstracted texture.

Analogous - similar in appearance, next to each other on the color wheel.

High-intensity colors are seen in the spectrum.
Neutral color - low-intensity colors such as cream, tan, beige, tree trunk
Saturated color - the blue in Mrs. Andrew’s dress.
Local colors - normally found in the objects around us, yellow hay, and gray-and-white clouds.

2.11 Thomas Gainsborough. Mr. and Mrs. Andrews, 1750. Oil on canvas, 27 1/2" × 47". National Gallery, London.

The Conversion of Saint Paul, 1601

Renaissance artists used the term chiaroscuro to describe light-dark gradations.

Most art does not emit light but reflects ambient light - the light all around us.

2.6, Royal Linguist’s Staff. Akan Culture, 1900s. Asante Kingdom, Ghana. Wood, gold leaf, 65 1/2" high.

A line is a moving point, having length and no width.

Actual lines physically exist and can be broad, thin, straight, jagged…

Implied lines do not physically exist, but appear to be real.

Heidi Cody's Alphabet Light Box
Value and Light
Texture and Pattern
Shape and Volume
One Point Perspective (1-P)
Only uses one vanishing point on the horizon line.
Time and Motion
Here the artist manipulates time by presenting five parallel narratives of actors awaking at sunset and going about their day. It was visible on the art The Museum of Modern Art's building from 5 to 10 pm
Unity and Variety
Hokusai'a Great Wave and Fred Tomaselli's Natural Illusions
Unity: Too much of the same can be boring but without it the artwork can seem chaotic.
Variety: Can make artwork exciting and interesting. With too much it can make the artwork confusing.
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