See also:   [Formal Elements]

                   [Art Terms]
                   [Film Terms (on film page)]
                   [Distribution] (film term)


On this page: {Intro} {Stuff} {Handiness}


How is the thing laid out? How are line and space, color and texture, object and shadow (if any) used?


Thee are several excellent books by aritsts on compostion, one might even go so far that the for the visual artist, composition is THE albatross that haunts us all. The written works by Van Gogh, Cezanne, Serat, Kandinski, as well as by Rudolph Arnheim (the psychologist) lay out and explore the "conceptual space" of composition. To the lay person, what we do when we look at simple compositions seems not to be art at all. And yet, from a dictionary of these designs that for "what ever reason" intrigue and dominate our our work. There are simple rules by which these tendencies can be recognised, but as to why they (among quite literally an infinite number) dominate and "possess" us, not even we can say. The famous black square on a blank canvas by Kasimir Malevich is of course (like the works of the other constructivists/suprematistists/bau-haus-ists/etc) form a sort of minimum alphabet for us. Couple this with the similarlly "atomic" ideas of pointilism, primary/secondar/complementary/etc colours, etc - and we have an almost totally devoid intellectural plane of art. And on that absolutely blanker than blank canvas, we draw (mentally extract) all possible forms, ideas, compositions, representations, and even actual images of either a directly (objective) or indirectly (abstract, symbolic, non-objective/subjective) nature. We know tha the direct images/things are what they are and the in-direct ones depend not only on the state-of-mind/aesthetic/tallents of the artist, but to that undefinable something that strikes the chord within the viewer and each viewer often in a totally different way - perhaps, that's much of the whyness of why we do our work. At least at this particular juncture in time/space/self it seems to me (whateve that thing is).


An important element is the LEFT-RIGHT vs RIGHT-LEFT concept. In the occidental (western) languages, one reads left-to-right, in the orriental (eastern) languages, one reads right-to-left. So, ingrained is the EYE MOVEMENT/EYE TRAINING that the very nature of the image presented depends HEAVILY upon this for its emphasis, impact, etc. For example, when viewing a drawing, if the most important element appears in the upper left-hand corner, it is more likely to be a western designer/artist. Similarly, for eastern designers/ artists the upper-right-hand element has more emphasis. This is something to consider in both visual arts, as well as set design, film, etc. For the western audience/viewer, things in the upper left have more impact, than things in the lower right do. This is reversed for the eastern audience/viewer. Thus, simply by moving the SAME element to a different location in the
Picture Plane we, totally change its impact and "presence".


film clip examples, etc.