Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Contour and Line

Contour is any object’s horizon. It can be diffused or sharply defined but it always is showing the edge of what is visible from a particular vantage. The kind of three-dimensionality we know is consisting of separate objects and their separateness is defined by contours.
It is possible to imagine a universe where objects are not separated by contours and abide as formless gruel of oneness. Perhaps this universe had such state in some obscure past and later coagulated into a gritty state we know where everything is vibrating inside of some medium yet to be understood that forms the space. What is much better understood is the world of discrete objects with their substantiality and palpable concreteness. In the name of all artists I want to express my profound appreciation for that state of universal affairs: bravo for substantiality and bravo for separateness!!!! That enthusiasm was not always equally shared; in Baroque painters imagined something like a cosmic shadow enveloping existence and out of the deep tenebrae objects were reaching toward the light. Other words- the darkness was the original and overwhelming state of visible world while light was rare and only fragmentary, illuminating some tips and extended extremities yearning for life-giving light.
Line exists in two-dimensional space while contour is three-dimensional. Line is conceptual, like all planimetric objects; points, triangles, squares, circles. Line preserves the flatness of the plane on which it is drawn while contour makes one side to  recede. Because of that effect contour belongs to figurative, representational art and line to decorative art.

Line is arbitrary, peremptory border. Contour is invasive toward its surroundings, cross-contaminating , commingling with its neighbor. Looking close, very close at the contour one finds inevitable consequences of being in the tumbler of physical world. As a result contour shows to the attentive eye “events of the edge” bristling with complexities, teeming with details.Lines were made by a busy razor and are much faster than contours tangled in eddies of talkative details.

Rembrandt van Rijn

Aubrey Beardsley

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