01 May 2015

The dot as element

This year the Contemporary Quilt challenge is Elements. I've been mulling over how to approach it for months, spurred by seeing, at the Sigmar Polke exhibition, the way that benday dots change from black dots to a grid, briefly, and then to white dots. Black and white are pretty elementary, so are dots and squares. Then a title, or was it just a handle, floated into view: elements of visual perception. I've yet to research this properly, but have been dredging up bits of info from the remnants of those rather boring courses in perception that were part of my psychology degree, aeons ago. Much has been discovered since then, including a sort of "third eye" - also known as blindsight. responding to stimuli that the person can't see.

But I digress. For Elements, thinking along the line of seeing shades of grey (via the rods in the eye) and seeing colour (via the cones), I've been looking closely at Polke's "dotty" paintings, especially the one above and these sort of effects -

He started (in the 1950s) by painting the dots by hand, then moved on to using screens. I too started painting by hand - actually, drawing dots in a grid first, so they wouldn't go all over the place - on both sheer fabric and something more substantial -
The grids were laid at slightly different angles -
This is what happens when the fabrics are layered -
Benday dots can be a range of sizes, depending on the tonal effect needed - which can get very complicated if you don't start with a particular image but are approaching it from the technical end.

The switch to using evenly-spaced,coloured dots is a simplification that appeals to me. It was inspired by seeing this sort of thing -
A suitable tonal image might come along; I'm on the lookout for one. But first, there's more to be discovered through experiments with painted grids ... or maybe even screenprint.

And with the purchase yesterday at a local fabric shop of some black/white check fabric ... and coincidentally seeing this quilt in my internet browsing -
it looks like the next experiment will be to add some coloured circles on the white squares.

No comments: