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Posts Tagged ‘attention’

15January2
As soon as you see the letters you want to know what that text says. Notice, however, that you don’t get obsessive about it. There are two reasons for this. One, the letters are not clearly outlined and the surface of the letters is painted in a chaotic, gritty manner. Two, the other surfaces of the painting lead you away from the text area. The red lines pull you to the upper right. The white triangle functions like an arrow that directs your attention to the right. The result is that your intellectual curiosity pulls you to the letters and at the same time you’re visually engaged by everything else. You find yourself moving through this painting, wondering how it works on your mind. Good thing.
It’s quite an accomplishment to have text in a painting without having it dominate the viewer’s attention.
Painting by Jane Donaldson, acrylic on canvas, 30” x 20”.
All contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.
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13CanistersMaggie

The merit in this drawing lies in the fact that the artist/student, Maggy Shell, went beyond the literal depiction of these still life 13Canistersobjects.  The realistic depiction of the canisters and the drapery is skilled enough, but that’s not what makes this drawing interesting.

What makes it interesting is that there are three distinct motifs: ellipse, chaos and triangle.  The ellipses form a nice rhythm on the top layer.  Under the ellipses comes the chaotic, 13CanistersMaggieAnalysiscloud-like, wafting swoosh of the cloth. (Green) The precision of the ellipses and the indeterminacy of the cloth make for a dramatic contrast, one highlighting the other.  The cloth, furthermore, is ambiguous:  is supports the solid cylinders but at the same time appears to be insubstantial and not supported by anything.  Ambiguity adds tension and tension is a good thing in art.

Enter the triangle, always a provocative shape. (Pink)  Where does this come from?  Two sources: 1) Among the cylinders there was a box with a partially open lid and under the white cloth there was some triangulation of additional fabric.  2) The imagination.

You guessed it, I’m rooting for #2.  The dark triangles at the left and right edges of the drawing are pure invention.  Notice how the triangles, pointing toward the center, focus your attention and keep you IN the composition. And it’s in the center that the geometry of the cylinders meets its opposite, the amorphous drift of drapery.  We have a little drama here. So, of course, we pay attention.  And paying attention is what the whole thing is about.

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

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