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Harmony

The Visual Dynamics of Related and Unrelated Shapes (Rectangles)

Each shape has its own dynamics: each shape has its own energies and arrangement of those energies; the rectangle is the classic shape in the visual arts. Two classical divisions of the rectangle are handed down to the artist; but to the modern artist, these are for the most part curiosities: interesting but no necessary in composing – or rather, spewing forth a painting – at best, they are recipes on how to lay in a picture: where to conveniently hang objects. The reality is that these systems are maps of the rectangle’s dynamics.

The eye will naturally divide a line in half: the mid-point; in a rectangle, this leads to the bipartite system. The eye also naturally divides a line into thirds leading us to the tripartite system. Interestingly the bipartite system includes the tripartite: the latter is a subset of the former.

Yet, what about the shape area in terms of its nature divide into sub areas? Does the area easily divide into fourths and thirds?

Questions:

  1. Is there a perceived relationship?
  2. Is this too subtle to consciously register?
  3. Does the eye grasp the relationships? Can the eye recognize a shape as based an original

Experiment:

  1. Create a rectangle with each side easily divided by three
  2. Enter the tripartite guidelines
  3. Create rectangular shapes based on those divisions
  4. Create an wholly unrelated rectangle having no proportional relationship with any of the rectangles or the master rectangle.
proportion2
Rectangle with related rectangles and one unrelated

Observations:

    • The eye does perceive the relationships: there is an harmony between shapes based on the initial rectangle;
    • The harmony and disharmony are immediately perceived. The red rectangle is perceived as out of harmony with the other rectangles.

Question:

  1. Can compositions be created that play off  the relatedness of different proportioned rectangles (or simply objects); for the eye is attracted to and tends to group by likeness.

 

rectangle_expr

[Edited 3/10/2017. This experiment was initially done as to understand why the eye quickly recognizes the misshapeness of a drawn human figure; but I have since come to understand that the mind has an internal sense of proportion. Yet, this is a possible way for the artist to create pleasing proportions of the human figure.]