Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Elements and Principles of Art: Space

A continuation in the discussion of Elements and Principles of Art in knitting...

Bet you thought I forgot about these, didn't ya?

Art Element Definition: Space is the area around, within, or between images or elements. Space can be created on a two-dimensional surface by using such techniques as overlapping of objects, varying of object size or placement, varying of colour intensity and value, and use of detail and diagonal lines.

I included such a long definition of the element this time because it was just so perfect.
And I found me a perfect (though slightly cheating) example of space, which fits in wonderfully with this definition and modern art history.

This beautiful Babette Blanket was created by sarah1rene (she has more lovely images of the piece on Rav and Flickr). I said this was slightly cheating because this project could be considered an artwork. At least, I consider it so.
In modern art (that's basically the 20th century), there was a tendency to flatten space and compress elements together, so that there was little-to-no depth in the work. Instead, artists chose to focus on the physicality of painting itself, emphasizing the reality of the flatness of the canvas. This blanket is very Klimt- or Rothko- or Mondrian- esque, no?
So, to get back to the crochet!
Space exists in this blanket, but it's not three-dimensional space. It's the space described in the definition above, the graceful space between elements, and the harmonious transitions from colour to colour (kudos on that one, sarah1rene!) which, in a manner, tricks one's eye into beleiving there might actually be protrusions and indentations in the canvas... er, I mean yarn.

PhotobucketConversely, hannahfettig's very popular Whisper Cardigan utilizes three dimensions and negative space to create its most attractive design feature. There's many photos of this knit, but I chose this one because you get a bit of a look at how the "empty" parts of this cardi have the ability to play with space and make it infinitely moveable (that's another principle for another post!)
Because of this clear use of space, it's easy to see how this knit and others like it are very sculptural.
Creating garments like this takes a lot of forethought (as do others) but particularly in this case, the designer's got to envision just how that negative space will interact in a flattering manner with the body that it's surrounding.
Kudos to you, hannahfettig, for being able to envision such an interaction!

You might be able to tell that I have a crush on both these patterns. Yes, I do. Big crush :)


Team Knit ! said...

I totally thought of Klimt and Rothko when looking at the top picture! I've recently been thinking about some Klimt inspired knitting, so there must be something in the air. I really enjoyed your comparison to the whisper cardi- I would never have thought about it's construction in that way, but you are so right!

- Julie

e said...

I love that blanket up top! The color's are amazing. I've recently been thinking about knitting something like it... I wish I could crochet!

Ellen said...

Great post! Yep, Whisper is an amazing piece...I can't wait until I can cast on for it!

Siga said...

Oh my, I got a crush as well. I wonder how come I hadn't come across these patterns. Thanks for sharing!

Hilary said...

So interesting!

sarah said...

You hit on why the two large squares on the left side of the blanket (in this photo) are my very favorites -- my eye is drawn to them often, because of their 3D-ness.

Ilix said...

A intresting, thoughtful post. Thanks for it!
I will have to give that babett blanket knitter some love!