Space, The Initial Frontier

Different spaces

Although this will be a short post tonight, the topic of space is enormous. There are all kinds of spaces: personal space; Newtonian space; Einsteinian space also known as space-time; dream space; virtual space; imagined space and perceived space, and others that I can’t think of at the moment.

It the past few posts (1), (2), (3) I have been exploring Hans Hofmann‘s ideas of the portrayal of space. His thesis is, space can be portrayed by an artist based on the perceptual senses and the artist’s ‘inner vision’ (which includes that artist’s emotional and empathetic state). Furthermore, he states that for the art to be ‘plastic’ (by which I think he means malleable or, to some extent, ambiguous), contrasts between color and form should be the only elements. He calls this ‘push pull’.

Today’s experiment:

I started with a sketch of elementary planar elements: cubes, a sphere and a flat plane.

Sketch -Abstract Spatial Elements

Spatial Elements – Sketch

I painted the opposite planes of the cube, resulting in the front plane, a square, obscuring the square plane that made up the opposite side of the cube. In this case, the front face of the larger cube is a cool color; the smaller cube’s front face is a warmer color. The flat plane is purple, the sphere is a blend of yellow to purple. The background is yellow, the complementary color of purple. I made certain that the yellow background impinged on the purple aspects of the plane and the sphere.

Watercolor Sketch - Abstract Spatial Elements in Color

Spatial Elements – Color
4″x6″ 140# Cold Pressed Watercolor Block

Although this is a simple study, it doesn’t strike me as containing much plasticity. It seems clear that the squares represent faces of cubes, the colors are not particularly ‘push-pull’-ing. However, there is a rudimentary sense of space.

Others’ personal spaces

The educated museum visitor who can decode the spatial planes of Cézanne, the cubist constructions of Picasso, Braque and others and the abstract expressionist canvases of Hans Hofmann get a sense of each artists’ spatial world.

By the same token, it takes a knowledgable person to be aware that each individual has his or her own spatial world view. For the most part, world views are very similar. For example, nearly everyone can see the same obstacle in their respective world views, and are able to avoid it.  There are others for whom sensations are out of the norm  This is obvious in the case of an unsighted person. But there can be other, more subtle differences  (i.e., hypersensitivity/hyposensitivity to certain colors or light, color blindness, etc.).

It would be wonderful if we could get an idea of the world view of these individuals somehow. Perhaps artistic expression is a means by which these worlds could be shared.

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