[Art-is INDEX]    [Syllabus]

Art-is: DESIGN: Line by Line

See also: [Design: Form (line)] [Art Materials] [Art Technique] [Art Terms] [Art THINGS] (sort of a catch-all) On this page: {What is Line?}

Art-is: DESIGN: Line by Line


We take a blank surface (it could be the side of the train "box" cars in the opening credits of "Police Academy: Back in training" where the words CAST (in very computer-deko font) *just* happen to appear onto)... A canvas, a wall, a piece of paper - that humblist of all "art tools".... and onto it we place lines. If we adhere to the strictly geometric, we end up with a "geometry lesson".... Franz Kupka Frank Stella Piet Mondrian (and note that in these particular artists in their most *known* styles, i need not mention *precise* reference works) If we soften (just a bit) the hard geometries into a bit on the organic, then we get "soft geometry" (the actual title name of the bed sheets that i bought once) and .... Sonia Terk-Delaunay (The Trans Siberian and of poets' relams) Jackie Winsor (scultpures not-quite in the round) Piet Mondrian (his soft tree grid-like springs to mind) and of course Paul Klee And softer still we get, Helen FrankenThaler (The Magji) Franz Kline (Brooklyn Bridge) Eva Hesse (those "L" people walking across the gallery floor) And note that in all of this we have STAYED in the world of ONLY line - not surface, nor really colour our intent of focus. And then against that we do the "pick up sticks" thing -- the bundle tossed on flat plane gains its strength (as test of skill) from: its BUNCH-NESS, it's GROUPED ON TOP OF EACH OTHER it is a MOUND (burial? wind-swept sand dune? or bower bird?... Stark into the space may come the line like the shreiking siren in Pendereski's "Threnody", Or almost silent as the Mona Lisa's dress bodice - possibly the only real "thing" of line in the entire painting This thing called LINE.

Enter the abstract

There are two meanings to the word 'abstract' -- 1) A distillation of a paper into a few words as a summary or an over-view. 2) To translate into the abstract realm. In one sense the abstract of a circle is a plus sign in another, the fractions of a crecent moon (or better yet the sun in ALMOST TOTAL eclipse). So, is a "rough sketch" or a "fractional representation" abstract? We have only to look at a cartoon drawing of a brick building - only a few actual rectangles are drawn, for the most part courses with a few verticle stripes - and even in impressionist paintings; but almost never in architectural drawings - the lines though faint mimic faitfully the stretchers in their courses, and the soldiers lining the top of the wall..... Thus, what many mistake for abstract is in fact *merely* "in-exact" or "softly translated" phantoms that are in fact as hard pressed into representation as a crystal focus snap shot - we read a Kathe Kolowitz "face in agony" or ??sp?? THAT TREE by van Gogh as readily as the blind read a face or a tree with their hands; as if embossed or reliefed into the realm of the exact. The curve of a curve IS a curve; a straight-ish line IS a line Euclid and even ovals yield pi's ratio to infinite precsion; hence: IMPRESSIONISM. And of text? Lines to be sure, but not abstract except in forgoten lines of poetry; viz, Eugenio Montale's discription of his wife flitting in and about a room of Intelectuals (captitalised by diplomas, documents, and dogma) as "a little fly pipping in and they not even know they've been exposed' - by no means an exact quote.. : an EXPRESSIONISTIC INTERPRETATION.