In art – no matter what kind – contrast, shape, and form are incredibly powerful tools to attract a viewer’s attention. These elements play with our minds and stimulate our senses, especially our imagination. It might seem black and white, but it certainly is not just black and white that we’re seeing.
This is the beauty of art and its many elements that have different effects on each of us. But we also need to be unbiased and allow ourselves to get lost in artworks that are meant to trigger and challenge our thinking and perception. Because there is so much more behind them than just the tools used. Meaning – applicable to our modern lives.
Contrast – A Different Perspective
As part of deconstructionism, the Walt Disney Hall in Los Angeles is a marvel of art that impresses with a skin of curving stainless steel. This forms different shapes and compelling contrasts. These become especially evident when the sun’s rays are gently falling on the building, creating natural light illusions. Designed by architect Frank Gehry, this building has heart and soul. Due to its style and various artistic forms used on a grand scale, this concert hall highlights diversity in all its numerous forms, shapes, contrasts.
Undoubtedly, black and white provide the most dramatic and greatest degree of contrast. As a popular tool for artists, it is meant to excite and create visual interest. Of course, architecture needs to be appealing to the eye of the beholder. Yet, there is more thought behind shapes, forms, and contrasts used than some might think. Architects – and later those thoughtfully photographing the beautiful buildings – have an intention.
Specifically contrast plays a fascinating and crucial role. Contrasts are used to help highlight the value of each different part, each facet, each side. By seeing contrasting colors or shapes, we start valuing those. We better see the diversity – oftentimes the drama – that is created in artworks by simply using contrast.
Just like the photo: Sometimes, things appear black, other times white. But that doesn’t change the fact that they are often one and the same thing.
We tend to forget that. It’s all about our personal approach and what we allow ourselves to see. How far we want to see. It is a reminder that we always have to consider the big picture, not just individual pieces, as we might run the risk of misjudging.
Dimensions as Symbol for Different Thinking
Here, two- and three-dimensional elements do not only represent depths in works of art we pass by daily. They also symbolize our thinking on a local or global scale. How far and deep can we see and think? Are we able to reflect upon what our minds can perceive – and then take it even further? Imagination.
In times like today, we need more people to break through the narrow-minded barrier of thinking. We need people who go deep. Understand that there is more – another level – and that we can’t just think one- or two-dimensional anymore in a world that is as complex as many works of art.
It’s not just about the physical eye being able to break through the different dimensions, but about what our minds are capable of seeing. We need more “bridges” in our modern lives to connect people, cultures, and values. Just imagine how even more wonderful this world would be.
Levels of Depth in Life and Art
Clearly, this photo shows different levels of depths. On a human level, this can be interpreted as people’s various approaches to a topic, their capacity to dig deeper, reflect, or simply just touch the surface. The greater the capacity to let the mind see and wander – and uncover – the greater is the depth in a piece of art. And vice versa. And sometimes, you see more than you think you will at first glance.
The artist[s] vocation is to send light into the human heart. – George Sand
Even though there can be different dimensions, a disconnect between them is not uncommon. How deep and wide can you see? Artists use bridging elements, just as in the photo above, to provide a means to connect levels of depths, synonymous for each of our different levels of thinking. Applying this to our own lives, we quickly realize that “a bridge” is something that helps us overcome and possibly step into another sphere. A different sphere of seeing, perceiving, and thinking. Further, a bridging element in art – whatever it may look like – also emphasizes the overcoming of contrasting positions.
We need more “bridges” in our modern lives to connect people, cultures, and values. Just imagine how even more wonderful this world would be.