Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Left-Right’ Category

SixNudesSpring15
These are six one-minute poses. I work on gloss paper with a water-soluble pencil. Later (hours or days later), I like to take out the drawing and spend some time clarifying certain anatomical features, especially hands, and then giving the space between the figures some depth, very often blurring contours with a shred of damp paper towel. I’ve done this many times before with these pages of one-minute poses. I like the way the figures appear to emerge from and disappear into a mysterious atmosphere, as sort of mist. But today, on a whim, I flipped the drawing horizontally (in Photoshop)and this allowed me to see something new. Yes, they were appearing and disappearing in

SixNudesSpring15Flip

this mist, but now for the first time I saw how stressed these bodies are. They seem to be struggling. Their environment, this “mist,” seems to be grating against them. I didn’t see this in my original drawing.  Now that I’ve seen it in the left-right flip, I can also see it in the original.
I’m reminded of Giacometti’s drawings, whose figures are as brittle as their unaccommodating environment. In the sculptures, the environment has worn them down to a mere determined, persevering existence.

Giacometti1
In my drawing, the poses themselves may be exceptionally torqued and therefore they’ve inspired this existentialist interpretation. I’ll try to be on the lookout in future drawings. In any case, the Giacometti3left-right flip has once again demonstrated its usefulness.
Alberto Giacometti, 1901-1966.
All contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.
http://facefame.wordpress.com
http://katherinehilden.wordpress.com
http://www.katherinehilden.com
http://www.khilden.com

Read Full Post »

More Edgy

In the last post I said, “Up is very satisfying.” Let’s test that by flipping the drawing.

Jan2015StripesBallsFlip
Hmmm. Doesn’t this view lack the tranquility of the original? It’s edgy, isn’t it. Interesting, but here we tend to land on the stripes, which are disjointed, broken and, well, edgy.

The more  I look at this, the more I like it.  It feels more complex than the original, more modern.

https://artamaze.wordpress.com/2015/03/03/compositional-drama/
All contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.
http://facefame.wordpress.com
http://katherinehilden.wordpress.com
http://www.katherinehilden.com
http://www.khilden.com

Read Full Post »

Jan2015StripesBalls
There was only one ball in the still life setup. The artist invented the other two. The background consisted of studio clutter: easels, sink, shelves with stuff. The artist invented that vertically textured dark wall. In other words, all she actually saw was a crumpled up cloth with stripes and one spherical object. Cloth-and-sphere can make an interesting composition in itself, granted. But the artist pushed the composition to greater dramatic heights.

Jan2015StripesBallsNumbers
Notice how the  compulsion to focus on the spheres (2) is offset by the maze-like graphic of the stripes (1). Your eye is attracted to both and your attention moves between 1 and 2. But the dominant direction of your attention will be up, left-right, towards the spheres. Up is very satisfying. You are encouraged to land on the sphere at 2 by the sloping of the dark background towards 2 and the upward edge of the cloth, which also leads to 2. Brilliant. Hey, it’s art.
Drawing by Maggy Shell, charcoal, ~14 x 18.

(As happens so often, I neglected to take a shot of the actual still life set up. Maggy had a bigger pile of objects to look at but found only the striped cloth and the ball interesting. Selecting what to draw is a big part of the work.)
All contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.
http://facefame.wordpress.com
http://katherinehilden.wordpress.com
http://www.katherinehilden.com
http://www.khilden.com

Read Full Post »

WhiteWedgeYellow
The colors are subdued, these creams and ochers, even the red seems saturated and calm. But the brushstrokes are energetic, the feeling of turbulence being enhanced by the white’s rift into what seems to be a landscape. Well, not so quick with that interpretation! True, there’s a horizontal line and that WhiteWedgeYellowAnalysistriggers the association to landscape. But that light upward strip on the upper left (green arrows) destroys that illusion. That strip is actually quite powerful in the composition. It not only subverts the illusion of landscape, it creates tension by virtue of its thinness and thereby moves the eye to the upper left. Without it, the “white turbulent rift” just right off middle would dominate mercilessly and demand some literal interpretation. As is, the viewer’s mind sees form and that’s a good place to be. Thanks be to modernism.
Painting by Arlene Tarpey, ~16×20, acrylic.
All contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.
http://facefame.wordpress.com
http://katherinehilden.wordpress.com
http://www.katherinehilden.com
http://www.khilden.com

Read Full Post »

Bike2
Kandinsky would have liked this painting.

As with music, rhythm is an important element in visual art. In this painting by Arlene Tarpey, we see the repetition of circular and elliptical shapes. There are three patterns: the literal statement of bicycle wheels, the row on top of distinct circles, and the row at the bottom of ellipses in a blur. Your eye goes round and round, but, because of the variations in the pattern, never gets bored. It’s hard not to get entranced. The composition as a whole sweeps the attention upward, to the upper right corner because that’s where the human figure is—always a trump card in any visual work—and also because of the small red collage, way in the corner. What is that? Can’t tell, it’s too small and it’s just a scrap. But we can make out that it shows the rhythm of a set of vertical lines. Voila, a reinforcement of the work’s theme, this time in counterpoint: linear vs. circular. If this little red patch had circles in it, that wouldn’t work, would be boring, too much of the same. The black vertical lines echo the rhythm motif and at the same time provide counterpoint.
Arlene Tarpey, mixed media (acrylic, pastel, collage on paper), ~16″x20″

Now let’s flip it horizontally (in Photoshop).

Bike2flipOooo, totally different feeling!  In which version is she going faster?  When she’s going towards the left or to the right?

Kandinsky didn’t talk about this left-right business and I don’t know what the musical analogy for the left-right flip would be.  But in image making, left and right are weighty issues, as you can see from this example. 

All contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.
http://facefame.wordpress.com
http://katherinehilden.wordpress.com
http://www.katherinehilden.com
http://www.khilden.com

Read Full Post »

14MayWhatNumber4
Again, the juxtaposition of chaotic and precise forms, round and rectilinear, irrational and rational, spontaneous and planned, fuzzy and delineated, Dionysian and Apollonian. The whole brain, not left or right, the works.
It’s well worth your time to contemplate what happens in your mind and your emotions when the 4 is superimposed here.

14MayWhatNumber
Btw, this swirling action was put on top of an earlier, abandoned painting in such a way that the early rectilinear shapes were left to show as pentimento, letting a shadow of memory and rationality connect us to yet another layer of time.
All contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.
http://www.khilden.com
http://facefame.wordpress.com
http://katherinehilden.wordpress.com
http://www.katherinehilden.com

Read Full Post »

14SaarinenClockTowerAfter J. Irwin Miller finished his studies in Philosophy, Classics and Economics at Oxford in 1934 he went to work at the family business in Columbus, Indiana.  The firm, Cummins Inc, manufactures motors. Columbus was a tiny town then. (Currently only 45,000 inhabitants).  Miller knew that in order to attract and keep top talent in engineering and management, he had to get involved in town politics, in creating excellent schools and in architecture.  He even had to build a house for himself where he could entertain the company’s executives, since there wasn’t a decent restaurant in the area where he could throw a Christmas party.  The Miller House, designed by Eero Saarinen and built in 1953, is an architectural gem and has its own tour.

The first building Miller commissioned was the First Christian Church, in 1942.  He hired Eero’s father, Eliel SaarinenTribuneTower1922Saarinen (1873-1950), a Finnish architect who by that time was well established in this country.  Saarinen had won the second prize for his entry in the Chicago Tribune design competition of 1922, a design whose influence is  evident in many skyscrapers built in the 20’s in American cities.  Saarinen was a modernist:  let’s do without ornaments, please!  He was also an architect with visual wit and courage.

Just picking a modernist to design a church in rural Indiana was itself an act of courage.  How did Miller get away with this?!  Must have been his wealth, the reputation of his company and his convictions about the power of art, architecture and modernism.

The church that Saarinen designed looks more like a factory or an athletic center than anything the Hoosiers would have associated with their Christian tradition.  Instead of a steeple, there’s a square brick clock tower!

14SaarinenChurchOutsideBut then comes the really good part:  the clock is placed off-center on the tower. I took the architecture tours in Columbus last November and when I saw this (it was the first building on the tour)  I just lit up.  Asymmetry!

First you see the whacky clock and then the tour guide makes sure you also notice that on the building itself there’s a cross that is also off center.  It was part of her job to point this out, but she wasn’t thrilled by asymmetry, that was clear.  I was.

14SaarinenChurchInsideInside the church, the altar wall is blank except for a large thin metal cross that is also, you guessed it, off center.  Not only that, it’s off center to the right, which hits you with an extra frisson.

The reason altars are traditionally symmetrical is that symmetry conveys stability: nothing changes here, don’t worry, you’re safe and comfortable among like-minded neighbors.  Saarinen’s design says, not so easy, folks, there’s work to be done in our thinking, our politics, our society, and you are the ones who have to do it.

Miller’s depth of political and social thought came to the fore a bit later.  In 1950 he co-founded the National Council of Churches. He was involved in civil rights legislation and the March on Washington. He led religious delegations that met with Presidents Kennedy and Johnson to push for the legislation that became the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Learning about this did not surprise me, because I had seen Saarinen’s asymmetrical clock and his placement of the cross.

Miller started a foundation in the 1950’s that henceforth paid all architects fees for new public buildings in Columbus. Public buildings, mind you, not extensions of his own corporate holdings. He specified that the buildings be designed by great architects, because, he said, “Mediocrity is expensive.”

The result?  This little town in southern Indiana offers an architecture tour with sixty-one modern buildings, fifteen modern sculptures and two modern bridges. Just to drop some names: Harry Weese, Richard Meier, Kohn 14SaarinenChurchHenryMoore Pederson Fox, Cesar Pelli, Eero Saarinen, Eliel Saarinen,  Kevin Roche, I.M.Pei,  and Ralph Johnson. You’ll recognize the sculpture in front of Saarinen’s asymmetrical church: Henry Moore.

Well, I’m planning on going back for my own tour at my own pace.

All contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.

www.khilden.com 

http://facefame.wordpress.com

http://katherinehilden.wordpress.com

http://www.katherinehilden.com

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »