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of positive and negative space. They skillfully switch forms into places where the
viewer would logically expect space, or what appears to be the outer surface of
an object reverses into an inner space.
Escher also created designs using positive and negative space to transform one
object to another. A flock of birds on the left side of the picture becomes a school
of fish on the right side. Each time a change takes place, the negative space
becomes dominant and transforms into the new object. Dutch, 1898–1972
Portrait of M. C. Escher. © 1998
Cordon Art, Baarn, Holland.
All rights reserved. FIGURE 5.10 At first this
print looks normal. Water is
falling to turn a water wheel.
However, follow the water from
the base of the fall. It runs uphill!
Escher has created a visual
puzzle using the mathematics
M. C. Escher. Waterfall. 1961.
Lithograph. © 1998 Cordon Art,
Baarn, Holland. All rights reserved. LESSON 2 Space 105 Space in ThreeDimensional Art
Over, under, through, behind, and
around are words that describe threedimensional space. Architecture, sculpture, weaving, ceramics, and jewelry are
three-dimensional art forms. They all
take up real space. You can walk
around, look through, look behind,
peer over, and reach into threedimensional art. FPO FIGURE 5.11 The interior of this cathedral was designed so that the
stained glass and the vertical columns would pull your eyes upward toward
Reims Cathedral (interior). Reims, France. Begun c. 1225. 106 CHAPTER 5 Shape, Form, and Space Architects shape space. They design
structures that enclose a variety of
spaces for people. They create large
spaces for group activities, such as the
one you see in Figure 5.11. They also
create small spaces for privacy. Landscape architects and city planners are
also involved in planning spaces for
people to use.
Negative areas in three-dimensional
art are very real. Most three-dimensional
works are meant to be freestanding, which
means they are surrounded by negative
space (Figure 5.12). The viewer must
move through this negative space to see
all of the different views of a threedimensional work.
Relief sculpture is not intended to be
freestanding. It projects out from a flat
surface into negative space. You can find
relief sculpture on ceramic pots and
plaster ceilings. When the positive areas
project slightly from the flat surface, the
work is called bas relief, or low relief
(Figure 5.13). When the positive areas
project farther out, the work is called
Most jewelry is planned as relief
sculpture to decorate human surfaces.
The inside of a ring or the back of a
pendant is smooth. It is not meant to
be seen; it simply rests on the person’s
Today many artists are experimenting
and changing traditional art forms.
Printmakers are creating relief prints.
Some printmakers are molding relief
designs in handmade paper. Painters are
adding a third dimension to the painted
surface. Some painters are cutting or
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This document was uploaded on 09/23/2013.
- Fall '13