Chapter 5 SummaryEnglish
Shape, Form, and Space
Lesson 1: Shapes and Forms
All objects are either shapes or forms. A shape
is a two-dimensional area that is defined in some way.
There are two types of shapes: geometric and free-form. Geometric
shapes are precise shapes that can be described
using mathematical formulas. Geometric shapes include
circle, square, triangle, oval, rectangle, octagon, parallelogram,
trapezoid, pentagon, and hexagon. Free-form
or “organic” shapes are irregular
and uneven shapes. Forms are three-dimensional.
They are like shapes because they have length and width, but
they also have depth. Shapes like squares and triangles can
“grow” into forms such as cubes and cones. Like
shapes, forms can also be geometric or free-form. Houses are
usually geometric forms while your body is a free-form form.
Artists create both shapes and forms. In two-dimensional works,
they can use lines and shapes to represent forms.
Lesson 2: Space
We exist in space and move through it. Our bodies take up
space as do all shapes and forms. In art, space
is the element that refers to the emptiness or area between,
around, above, below, or within objects. In both two-
and three-dimensional art, the shapes and forms are called
the positive space, or the figure. Empty spaces around shapes
and forms are called negative spaces, or ground. The shape
and size of negative spaces affect the way you interpret positive
spaces. Some artists give equal emphasis to both negative
and positive space in order to confuse the viewer. Over, under,
through, behind, and around are words that describe three-dimensional
space. Architects create buildings that both occupy and enclose
spaces. Artworks that are freestanding are surrounded by negative
space whereas relief sculpture projects into negative space.
When the positive areas project slightly from the flat
surface, the work is called bas-relief
or low relief. When the positive areas project farther out,
the work is called high relief. To experiment with space,
artists add three-dimensional, or relief, features to two-dimensional
artworks such as prints and fabrics. Photographers create
holograms, which are images in three-dimensions
created with a laser beam. Sculptors make kinetic sculpture,
which moves through space.
Lesson 3: How We Perceive Shape,
Form, and Space
Your eyes and brain work together to allow you to see in three
dimensions—height, width, and depth. Each eye sees an
object from a different angle; so your brain merges the two
views into one three-dimensional image. But this image depends
on your point of view—the angle
from which your eyes see the object. You see a shape
or form very differently if you are standing above it as opposed
to lying beside it. Your hand can look very different depending
on the way you turn or move it, and a rectangular table may
not look rectangular if you sit across the room from it. When
your relationship to an object changes, what you see also
Lesson 4: How Artists Create Shapes
and Forms in Space
Shapes and forms can be classified as natural or manufactured.
Artists use many materials and techniques to make shapes.
They concentrate on both outline and area. They also model,
mold, and carve three-dimensional forms. Artists who work
on two-dimensional surfaces can create the illusion of three-dimensional
form. To show forms, they use changes in value. They arrange
light and shadow on shapes in ways that mimic reality. This
arrangement of light and shadow is called chiaroscuro.
To create the illusion of depth—the impression that
some objects and shapes are closer to you than others—they
use perspective. Perspective is a graphic
system that creates the illusion of depth and volume on a
two-dimensional surface. Artists use six main techniques
to give their artworks perspective. (1) They overlap objects,
where one object covers part of a second object, and the first
object seems to be closer to the viewer. (2) They include
differences in size, where large objects appear to be closer
to the viewer than small objects. (3) They place objects at
different levels on the picture plane to be closer to the
viewer than objects placed near eye level. (4) They include
differences in detail. (5)They alter the value and intensity
of colors. (6) They incorporate converging lines to show distance
and depth. To create the illusion of forms and depth, artists
must try to represent the way we perceive things in real life.
Lesson 5: What Different Spaces,
Shapes, and Forms Express
Shapes, forms, and spaces in art can cause us to feel certain
ways since we associate them with similar shapes, forms, and
spaces in real life. Smooth, curved outlines and surfaces
can be soothing. Angular shapes with zigzag outlines and forms
with pointed projections can cause us to feel uncomfortable.
Perfectly geometric shapes seem orderly and stable, perhaps
expressing a lack of emotion. The density or mass of an object
refers to how compact it is. Dense materials seem strong and
unyielding and may suggest protection. Less dense forms are
soft and fluffy and seem comfortable. An open shape, form,
or space, which you can see through or inside, can be welcoming.
For example, an armchair is an open form that invites you
to sit; an open door invites you to enter. On the other hand,
closed forms, such as windowless buildings, can look forbidding
and say, “Keep away.” Just as lines can be active
and static, so can shapes and forms. Active shapes and forms
slant diagonally and seem energetic. Static shapes and forms
are usually horizontal or arranged like an equilateral triangle.
These forms evoke quiet and calm feelings.