’n’ Things

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Artistic Styles 11.11.05

Art is so complicated. You have many time periods: Renaissance, Baroque, Neoclassical, Romantic, Realist, Expressionist, Modern, Postmodern. Within these, you have individual techniques, ranging from making large, uncluttered open spaces to such oddities as deconstructionism. There are buildings with ridiculous detail to ornamental design, aluminum trash cans that are the essence of simplicity, and “Bangle-ized” cars.

I’ve noticed lately that I’ve taken a great liking to two opposite styles – Modernism, and, for lack of any known words (lack of education on my part, maybe?), what I’ve deemed “Homeliness”. I love the organic architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright’s buildings and the geometric style of Bauhaus (including one of my favorite fonts of all time, Futura). Those are Modern. But I also love down-to-earth styles – brick houses, paintings that don’t go all abstract-crazy, and fonts with a humanist axis. Homeliness.

They’re basically on opposite ends of the spectrum, except that both are the “essence” of something (brick is re-formed clay, making it the essence of natural building material; Bauhaus and Futura are the essence of the circle and the line; a humanist font is the essence of the human hand), and I’ve noticed that I tend to dislike artistic styles that don’t strive for that essence (for example, Neoclassical is a strange cross between what’s natural and what’s rigid – bleah).

So, what do you like and appreciate? What styles really stir your emotions in a wonderful way, and what styles simply make your eyes bleed?

5 Comments

Blogger Blake 11.11.05  

TBH – futura makes my eyes bleed!

For me, it’s not any certain styles that I like or dislike, but more of a case-by-case judgement.

Blogger Sage 11.11.05  

Futura’s just too beautiful. :-p

Certainly, individual works have to be judged case-by-case – I wouldn’t indiscriminately put a piece of artwork in my house just because it was labeled Modern (in fact, since Modernism is broken up into several eras, there is plenty of Modern stuff that I can’t stand). But in general, there are certain things I like better than others – e.g., you’d be hard-pressed to find a DeCon building that I’d like. Very hard-pressed.

Anonymous Giles Guthrie 14.11.05  

Well, there's a huge variance between us Sage. One of may favourite architects is the Deconstructivist Frank Gehry. His buildings have such epic curves in them. Seriously, Chris Bangle wishes he could design curves like this. Gehry is able to demonstrate the beauty of maths by building its curves into his designs, and making his surfaces look somehow organic. I love his work.

Counterpointing this though is the fact that I love parallels. This, for example, is a thing of beauty. Yes, so it's three metal cylinders joined together, but it is so parsimonious, so perfect. This too with its curved column, and the speaker's centre of gravity sitting atop the main colum is just fantastic.

So, basically: give me beautiful curves, or make it straight. Aye.

Blogger Sage 14.11.05  

Well, I’ve been within a couple hundred feet of the Disney Concert Hall, and I wasn’t impressed – I guess, to me, DeCon feels like an “excess” thing. I love curves, but give me functional and structural curves.

Of course, that door handle thing you linked to – I’ll definitely agree that that is gorgeous. It’s so functional, so devoid of pretension, yet so pleasing to look at. And best of all, it won’t get it the way, like a lot of handles manage to do.

One of my favorite designs in the world is, oddly, a headstone: the one Paul Rand designed for himself. It’s so unbelievably perfect that if I had designed it I’d want to hurry up and die just so that I could use it.

Anonymous skip0110 17.11.05  

Something that is functional is pretty to me--take a look at the interesting shape of a beehive valvespring or the shape of a microfiber strand.