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Chapter 8 Summary—English

Rhythm, Pattern, and Movement

Lesson 1: Rhythm and Pattern
Rhythm is the principle of art that indicates movement by the repetition of elements or objects. You can hear rhythm in music and poetry. In visual rhythm, you receive through your eyes rather than through your ears. Visual rhythm is created by repeated positive shapes separated by negative spaces. The repeated shapes are like the beats in music. Visual rhythms create a sensation of movement—like the real action of a bouncing ball—and your eyes bounce from one shape to the next. On a two-dimensional work, the entire visual repetition is called a pattern. Pattern is the principle of art that is concerned with decorative surface design. The unit that is repeated in visual pattern is called a motif. Sometimes, every motif is an exact duplicate of the first unit; other times, the repetitions vary from the original. You can discover patterns in the world around you. They can be found in furniture, rugs, clothing, or a line of lockers in the school hallway.

Lesson 2: Types of Rhythm and Pattern
There are many ways to arrange motifs and space in order to create visual rhythms and patterns. (1) In a random rhythm, a motif is repeated in no apparent order, with no regular spaces in between. Artists who splash their works with paint create random rhythms. (2) Regular rhythm and patterns have identical beats or motifs and equal amounts of space between them. They have a steady beat but can be boring if overdone. (3) Alternating rhythm and pattern can be created in several ways. One way is to introduce a second beat or motif. Another way is to make a change in the placement or content of the original beat or motif. Alternation creates interest and relieves monotony. (4) A flowing rhythm is created by repeating wavy lines. Your eyes follow the curving path as it changes direction gradually. This type of rhythm can express union and suggest the movement of wind, water, or flames. (5) In progressive rhythm, there is a change in the beat each time it is repeated. A progressive rhythm may start with a square.

Lesson 3: How Artists Use Rhythm to Create Movement
Artists use rhythm in their work to convey feeling and ideas. They also use it to create visual movement. Visual movement is the principle of art used to create the look and feeling of action and to guide the viewer’s eyes throughout the work of art. A group of artists called the Futurists used rhythm to capture the idea of movement itself. They showed the forces of movement, called dynamism, by slanting and overlapping surfaces. The artist Joseph Stella creates a frenzy of movement through the use of rhythms and patterns of colors and shapes (Figure 8.19, page 212). The art of Alexander Calder is also concerned with movement. Calder’s sculptures were dubbed kinetic sculpture because they actually move in space. His kinetic sculpture is made up of abstract shapes hanging in space that actually move (Figure 8.20, page 213). Moving sculptures of this kind are now called mobiles.


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