C H A P T E R NINE The Art of the Third Dimension THE VOCABULARY OF THE THIRD DIMENSION BASIC CONCEPTS OF THREE-DIMENSIONAL ART Sculpture Other Areas of Three-Dimensional Art Architecture Metalwork Glass Design Ceramics Fiberwork Product Design THE COMPONENTS OF THREE-DIMENSIONAL ART Materials and Techniques Subtraction Manipulation Addition Substitution The Elements of Three-Dimensional Form Shape Value Space Texture Line Color Time (the fourth dimension) Principles of Three-Dimensional Order Harmony and Variety Balance Proportion Economy Movement Installations
222 Chapter 9 THE VOCABULARY OF THE THIRD DIMENSION Three-dimensional Possessing, or creating the illusion of possessing, the dimension of depth as well as the dimensions of height and width. addition A sculptural term that means building up, assembling, or putting on material. manipulation The sculptural technique of shaping pliable materials by hands or tools. atectonic mass (third dimension) 1. In graphic art, a shape that appears to stand out three-dimensionally from the space surrounding it or that appears to create the illusion of a solid body of material. 2. In the plastic arts, the physical bulk of a solid body of material. Characterized by considerable amounts of space; open, as opposed to massive (or tectonic), and often with extended appendages. Bauhaus Originally a German school of architecture that flourished between World War I and World War II. The Bauhaus attracted many leading experimental artists of both two- and three-dimensional fields. casting A sculptural technique in which liquid materials are shaped by being poured into a mold. glyptic I. The quality of an art material like stone, wood, or metal that can be carved or engraved. 2. An art form that retains the color and the tensile and tactile qualities of the material from which it was created. 3. The quality of hardness, solidity, or resistance found in carved or engraved materials. installations Interior or exterior settings of media created by artists to heighten the viewers' awareness of the environmental space. mobile A three-dimensional moving sculpture. modeling The sculptural technique of shaping a pliable material. patina I. A natural film, usually greenish, that results from the oxidation of bronze or other metallic material. 2. Colored pigments and/or chemicals applied to a sculptural surface. relief sculpture An art work, graphic in concept but sculptural in application, utilizing relatively shallow depth to establish images. The space development may range from very limited projection, known as "low relief," to more exaggerated space development, known as "high relief." Relief sculpture is meant to be viewed frontally, not in the round. sculpture The art of expressive shaping of threedimensional materials. "Man's expression to man through three-dimensional form" (Jules Struppeck; see Bibliography). shape (third dimension) An area that stands out from the space next to or around it due to a defined or implied boundary or because of differences in value, color, or texture. silhouette The area between or bounded by the contours, or edges, of an object; the total shape. substitution In sculpture, replacing one material or medium with another (see also casting). subtraction A sculptural term meaning the carving or cutting away of materials. tectonic The quality of simple massiveness; lacking any significant extrusions or intrusions. void I. An area lacking positive substance and consisting of negative space. 2. A spatial area within an object that penetrates and passes through it. volume (third dimension) A measurable area of defined or occupied space.
The Art of the Third Dimension BASIC CONCEPTS OF THREEDIMENSIONAL ART 223 9 1 Isamu Noguchi, The Stone Within, 1982. Basalt, 75 x 38 x 27 in. (190.5 x 96.5 x 68.6 cm). The sculptor Noguchi has subtracted just enough stone in this work to introduce his concept of minimal form while preserving the integrity of the material and its heavy, weighty mass. In the preceding chapters, our examination of art fundamentals has been limited mostly to the graphic arts. Isamu Noguchi Foundation. Photograph by Michio These art disciplines (drawing, painting, Noguchi. photography, printmaking, graphic design, and so on) have two dimensions (height and width), existing on a flat surface and generating sensations of space mainly through illusions created by the artist. This chapter deals with the unique properties of threedimensional artwork and the creative concepts that evolve from these emphatically encourage readers to put properties. actual observation into practice. In three-dimensional art, the added Practicing artists and art authorities dimension is that of actual depth. This designate the three-dimensional qualities depth results in a greater sense of reality of objects in space with such terms as and, as a consequence, increases the form, shape, mass, and volume. The term physical impact of the work. This is true because a graphic work is usually limited form can be misleading here, because its meaning differs from the definition to one format plan, always bounded by a applied in early chaptersthe inventive geometrically shaped picture frame, arrangement of all the visual elements while a three-dimensional work is according to principles that will produce limited only by the outer extremities of unity. In a broad structural sense, form is its multiple positions and/or views. The three-dimensional format, although more the sum total of all the media and techniques used to organize the threecomplicated, offers greater freedom to dimensional elements within an artwork. the artist and greater viewing interest to In this respect, a church is a total form the spectator. and its doors are contributing shapes; Because actual depth is fundamental similarly, a human figure is a total form, to three-dimensional art, one must be in while the head, arms, and legs are the presence of the artwork to fully contributing shapes. However, in a more appreciate it. Words and graphic limited sense, form may just refer to the representations of three-dimensional art appearance of an objectto a contour, a are not substitutes for actual experience. shape, or a structure. Shape, when Two-dimensional depictions are flat, used in a three-dimensional sense, may rigid, and representative of only one refer to a positive or open negative area. viewpoint; however, they do serve as a By comparison, mass invariably visual shorthand for actual sensory denotes a solid physical object of experiences. In this text, and particularly relatively large weight or bulk. Mass may in this chapter, we use two-dimensional also refer to a coherent body of matter, descriptions, by way of text and like clay or metal, that is not yet shaped photographic reproductions, as the most or to a lump of raw material that could convenient means of conveying the be modeled or cast. Stone carvers, three-dimensional experience. But we accustomed to working with glyptic materials, tend to think of a heavy, weighty mass (fig. 9.1); modelers, who manipulate clay or wax, favor a pliable mass. Volume is the amount of space the mass, or bulk, occupies, or the threedimensional area of space that is totally or partially enclosed by planes, linear edges, or wires. Many authorities conceive of masses as positive solids and volumes as negative open spaces. For example, a potter who throws a bowl on a wheel adjusts the dimensions of the
224 Chapter 9 9 2 John W. Goforth, Untitled, 1971. Cast aluminum, 153/4 in. (40 cm) high with base. The volume incorporates the space, both solid and empty, that is occupied by the work. Collection of Otto Ocvirk. Courtesy of Carolyn Goforth. 9 3 Joan Livingstone, Seeped, 1997-2000. Felt, stain, resin, pigment, and steei, 1 1 2 x 36 x 96 in. (284.5 x 91.4 x 243.8 cm). Modern sculpture exploits every conceivable material that suits the intentions of the artist. Courtesy of the artist and the SYBARIS Gallery, Royal Oak, Ml. Photograph by Michael Tropea. interior volume (negative interior space) by expanding or compressing the clay planes (positive mass).The sculptor who assembles materials may also enclose negative volumes to form unique relationships (fig. 9.2). Looking more widely, most objects in our environment have threedimensional qualities of height, width, and depth and can be divided into natural and human-made forms. Although natural forms may stimulate the thought processes, they are not in themselves creative. Artists invent forms to satisfy their need for self-expression. In the distant past, most threedimensional objects were created for utilitarian purposes.They included such implements as stone axes, pottery, hammers, and knives, as well as objects of worship. Nearly all these human-made forms possessed qualities of artistic expression; many depicted the animals their creators hunted. These prehistoric objects are now considered an early expression of the sculptural impulse. SCULPTURE The term sculpture has had varied meanings throughout history. The word derives from the Latin verb sculpere, which refers to the process of carving, cutting, or engraving. The ancient Greeks' definition of sculpture also included the modeling of such pliable materials as clay or wax to produce figures in relief or in the round. The Greeks developed an ideal standard for the sculptured human form that was considered the perfect physical organizationharmonious, balanced, and totally related in all parts.The concept of artistic organization was part of the definition of sculpture (see fig. 2.42). Modern sculpture has taken on new qualities in response to the changing conditions of an industrialized age. Science and machiner