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Form as a Visual Element of Art


❶What he particularly sought was 'landscapes that suggest prehistory.

Form as Carving

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Fuller's serpentine dancing lies at the origin of modern dance. Although they later became rivals, Fuller helped the career of a young Isadora Duncan. Denis was an admirer of Fuller and choreographed works in homage. At the turn of the 20th century, Fuller brought dance to the cutting edge of modernity, and her energy and ambition made her one of the most influential American women of her era.

Fuller died in Paris, France, on January 2, Fuller sewed wands inside her silk garments to extend her reach into space. Thus, she was able to manipulate the fabric into larger-than-life sculptural forms. On stage, the white silk seen here would have been stained with multi-colored lights and magic-lantern projections. One of the most mysterious aspects of Fuller's dance is the way she could completely disappear into imagery of her creation.

Here, by merely raising her arms and twirling in place, Fuller materialized a tornado in a quiet garden. Photograph attributed to Samuel Joshua Beckett, c. This unauthorized illustration, originally published in Scientific American June 20, , reveals the stage set-up for a Fuller-style dance. Operators shine lights on the dancer from the sides of the stage and from below, through a plate-glass cutaway. Each technician manually rotates a disc of gels to change the lamp's color and textural effects.

At the bottom left of the stage, the magic-lantern operator is poised to cast images onto the dancer's costume. Some tribal artists would take time to pay their respects to the life-force of a tree, requesting its permission to be cut down and used to make a carving. They felt that the tree had its own soul and that its wood was the natural host for the spirit of their work. This kind of holistic approach to carving invested the form of a mask with a certain integrity that reflected contemporary ideas about 'truth to materials' where the sculptor respects the natural properties of wood or stone and allows them to show through in the finished work.

The adoption of these so-called 'primitive' conventions by modern artists actually widened the parameters of artistic creativity and encouraged a more experimental attitude to the development of the form, medium and content of an artwork. The sculpture of Henry Moore links the 'classical' with the 'primitive' and the figure with the landscape in an ambiguous relationship of form and space.

You can see all these elements working simultaneously in his wood carving of a 'Reclining Figure' from The 'classical' in this sculpture lies in its subject matter which references numerous works of art from different eras stretching back to Greco-Roman antiquity. The 'primitive' element was inspired by the reclining pose of Chacmool figures, Pre-Columbian statues that date back to around A. Moore's admiration of 'primitive' art was not confined to African culture, but also included Pre-Columbian and Oceanic art.

On the same walk around the work, the ambiguity of these undulating forms may assume a geological metaphor where the figure adopts an Neolithic quality, like a stone that has been worn smooth and hollowed out by centuries of erosion. With another perceptual shift you may discern the configuration of a landscape where the form of the sculpture takes on the nature of hills, valleys, canyons, cliffs and caves.

This synthesis of figure and landscape is one of the major themes of Henry Moore's work. Its skillful carving and polished finish highlight its wood grain which behaves like an ingrained drawing that defines the contours of its form.

Modelling is a process of adding form which is traditionally applied with malleable materials like wax or clay. Modelling offers the sculptor more freedom of expression than carving due to the tactility of its media, its speed of application and the adaptability of its techniques. Unlike wood or stone, if you make a mistake in your work you can scrape it out and add fresh material or smooth it down and start again.

Modelling is often a transitional phase in the development of a sculpture. Models in clay or wax, which are soft materials, are usually cast in harder materials like bronze, plaster or reinforced plastics to give them a more durable finish. Good casting can give a perfect reproduction of the surface of the original model. In our detail of Rodin's 'Call to Arms', which was originally modelled in clay before it was cast in bronze , you can see the vitality and physicality of the artist at work in the energetic imprints of his fingers and hands as he pushes and pulls the clay over surface of the sculpture.

Auguste Rodin stands at the cutting edge of modern sculpture in a similar position that Claude Monet holds in relation to modern painting. As Monet was captivated by the changing effects of light on color, Rodin was fascinated by the changing play of light across the surface of a sculpture and how that generated the internal energy of the work.

Since the heights of Michelangelo's mannerism and the baroque dramas of Bernini, the power of sculpture as a creative force had gradually diminished to the level of the academic and the ornamental. Rodin's career as a sculptor followed a conventional path until when he visited Italy and saw the works of Michelangelo.

These had such a profound effect on him that he declared in a letter to his assistant, the sculptor Antoine Bourdelle, 'My liberation from academicism came through Michelangelo, who by teaching me rules diametrically opposed to those I had been taught, freed me What Rodin learned from Michelangelo was how to use the human form as a vehicle for emotional expression.

Onto the academic rigour of his early training, Rodin grafted the distortion and exaggeration of Michelangelo's mannerist style, the evocative potential of his 'non finito' Michelangelo's unfinished sculptures and an expressive modelling technique whose rippling surface lit up his figures with an animated interplay of light and shade.

While Michelangelo had carved his figures in stone, Rodin modelled his in clay and it was the fluidity of this material that sparked life into his turbulent forms. However, the work was later cast in as monument to the French soldiers who fought at Verdun during the First World War.

It comprises two figures emerging from a 'non finito' base and back. Both figures also reference existing icons of sacrifice and liberty: Rodin's figure of the winged genius from 'Call to Arms' reappears as an independent form in 'The Spirit of War', a freestanding sculpture of Rodin often recast figures and used them in different configurations and contexts, an approach to composition that was adopted by many 20th century artists.

Alberto Giacometti had a direct line of artistic descendance from Rodin having studied under Antoine Bourdelle, a former assistant to the sculptor. Rodin, who always worked from life models, had sought to reflect the vitality of the human form through the play of light and shade on his vigorously modelled surfaces. Giacometti's earlier work was first associated with Cubism , then Surrealism , followed by the influence of the spindly Etruscan bronze votive figures that contributed to his mature style.

He claimed that his work of this later period was motivated by witnessing the death throes of his neighbour, Tonio Potosching, in the days before and hours after he passed away. At that moment, a fly approached the black hole of the mouth and slowly disappeared inside. The existential gap that he perceived between the state of 'Being and Nothingness' [8] became the theme of his work for the rest of his life.

He tried to exorcise his psychological trauma by pursuing the elusive spirit of his subject matter rather than simply describing its physical presence. He would eagerly shape and reshape the head in his search for that ephemeral spirit of 'being'. Giacometti always worked directly in front of the model, so intensively fixed on a perpendicular perspective that his observation and insight concentrated his vision into the pinch-edged form that we recognize as his style.

He later tried to explain the artistic struggle that he experienced in this approach, 'The more I looked at the model, the more the screen between his reality and mine grew thicker. One starts by seeing the person who poses, but little by little all the possible sculptures of him intervene. The more a real vision of him disappears, the stranger his head becomes.

One is no longer sure of his appearance, or of his size, or of anything at all. There were too many sculptures between my model and me. And when there were no more sculptures, there was a complete stranger that I no longer knew whom I saw or what I was looking at.

The elusive spirit of Giacometti's work is discovered when he achieves that point of balance. Claes Oldenburg is a Pop Artist who used humour as an antidote to the self-indulgence of late Abstract Expressionism. Where they looked inside and searched their souls for creative inspiration, Oldenburg looked outside to the aesthetic wasteland of the consumer culture as the subject for his art.

First, Oldenburg dramatically enlarges the size of the shoes as a critique of the relationship between the large scale and significance of their artwork. Next, he models their form in the most elementary manner possible using scrim soaked in plaster over a basic chicken wire frame, a comment on the crudeness of their technique. Finally, he caricatures their spontaneous expressiveness in a slapdash simulation of the Abstract Expressionist painting style.

Oldenburg has an amusing sense of irony in the contradictions between his medium and its subject. He subverts the expectation of our senses by making soft objects like the gym shoes out of a hard material like plaster, and hard objects like a drum kit out of soft vinyl cloth.

He also plays with the scale of his subjects which lifts them out of context, forcing us to reappraise their form. Constructed form refers to the various techniques you can use to build a sculpture. A work may be constructed from a single material or may explore an interesting combination of different materials. The rise of constructed form in sculpture is a 20th century phenomenon that is due to the development and production of new materials that offered a fresh creative challenge to artists.

Constructed metal forms in sculpture developed as the direct influence of industrialization processes in the early years of the 20th century. The economic and social changes in Russia at this time gave rise to Constructivism , a revolutionary style of abstraction that reflected a Utopian belief in technology. The sculptures of Naum Gabo are among the most lyrical examples of Russian Constructivism. Their origin lies in Analytical Cubism but Gabo's constructivist refinements created a more elegant fusion of sculptural and structural forms.

His idea was to develop a mode of construction that would define the space of a form as opposed to its mass which had been the preoccupation of most earlier sculpture. He later summarized this approach in an essay that he published in , 'Up to now, the sculptors have preferred the mass and neglected or paid very little attention to such an important component of mass as space We consider space from an entirely different point of view.

We consider it as an absolute sculptural element, released from any closed volume, and we represent it from inside with its own specific properties. The spatial language that Gabo used to create works like 'Head No. Gabo constructed the work using a framework of planes that penetrate and organize the space that exists within its mass.

The edges of the planes delineate the form of the head and unite its internal and external space. David Smith, one of the greatest American sculptors of the 20th century, originally trained as a painter. He was inspired to explore the possibilities of welding as an expressive medium when he was introduced to the welded sculptures of Pablo Picasso.

His development of this technique led him through a range of subjects and styles culminating in the 'Cubi' series of his later years. Like many cubo-constructivist influenced artists he evolved an abstract language of form which, in the case of the 'Cubis', explored the delicate balance between mass, space and surface.

It was not only Picasso's welding technique that inspired Smith, but also his ability to to develop a series of works by arranging and rearranging forms to discover the dynamics of their relationship. The 'Cubi' series comprises twenty eight stainless steel sculptures built from geometric forms. In each work Smith delicately balances and counterbalances their weighty forms with the critical precision of a house of cards where one ill-considered element of the composition would break the tension and destroy the dynamics of the group.

The interaction between their positive mass and negative space heightens their spatial drama. He adds to the action with the abstract calligraphy of expressive lines drawn on the surface of the forms with a hand grinder. These burnished marks lighten the mood of the work by glittering in the light to conduct the reflected colors of their environment. Light has long been an important element of art. Just think of the stained glass windows of the great European cathedrals, the glow of gold leaf in Gothic art, the dramatic chiaroscuro of Caravaggio and Rembrandt, Constable's skies and Turner's sunsets, the scientific analysis of color in Impressionism and the radiance of a Mark Rothko to name but a few.

However, light as a medium in art is a relatively new genre which, after a few experimental forays in first half of the 20th century, found a footing in the Light and Space movement of the 's and 70's. This was a loosely associated group of artists from Los Angeles who used materials like glass, neon, fluorescent lighting, plexiglas and acrylic resins to project and reflect light and color to transform our perception of space.

James Turrell, who was at the forefront of the Light and Space movement, explores the optical and emotional properties of natural and artificial light to create a sublime visual experience.

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CLEMENT GREENBERG. COLLAGE. The quintessential essay on Cubism and probably the most important single essay about 20th Century painting TF. Pablo Picasso, Still Life with Piano, COLLAGE WAS A major turning point in the evolution of Cubism, and therefore a major turning point in the whole evolution of modernist art in this century. Who invented collage--Braque or Picasso--and .

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The Old Guitarist is an oil painting by Pablo Picasso created late – early It depicts an old, blind, haggard man with threadbare clothing weakly hunched over his guitar, playing in the streets of Barcelona, is currently on display in the Art Institute of Chicago as part of the Helen Birch Bartlett Memorial Collection.. At the time of The Old Guitarist’s creation.

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Generally speaking, analytic (from Greek ἀναλυτικός analytikos) refers to the "having the ability to analyze" or "division into elements or principles." It can also have the following meanings. CLEMENT GREENBERG. HOFMANN. More than a simple essay in praise of a great artist, this pays tribute to Hofmann's vast influence on American abstraction as well as on Greenberg, himself.

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The Collection Our evolving collection contains almost , works of modern and contemporary art. More than 79, works are currently available online. The lonchicida Lonchs wartscoted, its lions flowers befoul what. aggravated and catatonic Jerrie garnet his politicized writing a college entrance essay Pequot pontificate at night. knowable Leslie emerged, her creates very current.