Last of the Elements - Space

by lesley // posted on Sep 18, 2017

The art form that best demonstrates space is site specific art designed exclusively for one particular space.  Think large sculpture in a park setting.

Space and how it's transformed, is the artwork.  In other words, space is the area in which an artwork is organized.  It encompasses the area within and can also include the area immediately outside of and around the art.

In sculpture and other 3D art, positive space is the area the object actually occupies and negative space is all the other areas between and around it.

In paintings, 2D works of art, space is usually contained within the borders of the canvas or support it's made on.  The main objects in the painting take up positive space while the area around them is called negative space.  At times artists intentionally blur the boundaries between the two.

Many paintings create the illusion of 3D space by using specific techniques, ie: overlapping or placing objects on different parts of the canvas to imply 3D space. A blurred background against a focused foreground creates depth. Objects get smaller and recede to imply distance.  Varying colours and values will also give 2D works the illusion of real space.


Tail Wind

This painting is an example of how the objects (horses), placed near the top borders of the space, suggest they're on a hill crest.  The horses take positive space while the sky represents negative space.  This combination implies depth.

The worn trail occupies 3/4 of the space leading us to the focal point and reinforces distance and elevation.  The negative space (sky), supports and delivers contrast for the objects to "pop" against, inviting the viewer's attention to the main event.

This concludes the 7 Elements of Art series.  No doubt some of you are relieved. Hopefully for the majority this has been either informative or a reminder of how, by utilizing these 7 building blocks, you can clearly convey the primary message you want to deliver to your audience. 


Ha! Well said Jocelyn :)

Space, the final frontier. These are the voyages of the artist Lesley, who boldly goes where many fear to tread.

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