Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Line vs. Color

(Henri Matisse, The Dessert: Harmony in Red, 1908)

I think it’s true. There are two teams, Line and Color. Sometimes they play together, sometimes they are opposing. But they are always distinct.

Yes, there can be a colored line, and there can be the line outlining a form, but the color of the form is neither of these.

Color is a surface, an expanse. Color takes up room. Line doesn’t fill like color.

Line can go on top of color. And color can go on top of line. But I can’t think of a visual representation of a merged thing called colorline.

The personality of a line is in it’s marking: a line can be flexible or stiff, fast or slow, premeditated or in the moment. The personality of color is in its hue, its intensity, its thereness. Line does and color is.

Color has mass appeal. Line takes some learning and is therefore more elitist.

How am I doing on the generalizations?


Sarah M said...

This Matisse is one of my favorite pictures of all time. Have this in a poster print. It's in storage somewhere, didn't fit on the walls of this house. Miss it. So glad to see it in your post...

Molly Stevens said...

It's hard to see Matisse not as a poster! There's a show at MoMa coming up on an obscure "phase" he went through. Can't wait to see it. xx

BlackMomo said...

It seems to me that form can be the meeting place or merged thing. An edge can signal line or plane, divide or expanse, depending on how you approach it. Thinking of Avery, maybe Nozkowski.

Molly Stevens said...

That's a good point. Also like Barnett Newman's "zips." Thanks for writing.