Ornamentation

[Colour / Texture / Pattern]

Core Influences

  • Andrew Bick

  • Dominic Beattie

  • Yinka Shonibare

  • Richard Wright

  • Bridget Riley

  • Chris Ofili

  • Wassily Kandinsky

  • Zellige Tiles

  • Owen Jones - The Grammar of Ornament

  • Adolf Loos - Ornament and Crime

  • Charlotte Perkins Gilman - The Yellow Wallpaper

  • Wassily Kandinsky - Concerning the Spiritual in Art

  • Goethe - Theory of Colours

  • The Alhambra

  • National Gallery, Making Colour

 

Adolf Loos commented on decoration, in his essay ‘Ornamentation and Crime’ (1908), stating that precious time is wasted on decorating. That it was a crime to waste the effort needed to add ornamentation, when the ornamentation would cause the object to soon go out of style. This ornamentation is at the heart of my practice as it is the pattern/the ornamentation that I am controlling through the geometry. Many artist use both of these constructs such as Bridget Riley and her optical illusions. Another component to this duo is that of colour. Decoration would not be around without the use of colour. Richard Wright may use a limited colour scheme but his use of gold to adorn the wall is effective and not wasted time. However lack of ornamentation is prevalent as well. The Bauhaus lacked ornamentation it was all about the pureness. Le Corbusier was also about straight lines and no frilly edges. Although the weaving workshop rectified that with Anni Albers and Gunta Stölzl.

 

The Yellow Wallpaper is about one woman's struggle to not be overtaken by the pattern and colour of the wallpaper. “It is the strangest yellow, that wall-paper! It makes me think of all the yellow things I ever saw – not beautiful ones like buttercups, but old foul, bad yellow things. But there is something else about that paper – the smell! ... The only thing I can think of that it is like is the colour of the paper! A yellow smell." Yes this happen because she has been confined to the room, but the thing she picks up on is the colour. Mondrian was known for his dislike of the colour green, because it didn’t fit in with his reality or that it wasn't a primary colour is not known. However it is a colour that he took offence to.

 

Goethe turned colours into a symmetric/al colour wheel. "The chromatic circle... is arranged in a general way according to the natural order... for the colours diametrically opposed to each other in this diagram are those which reciprocally evoke each other in the eye. Thus, yellow demands violet; orange demands blue; purple demands green; and vice versa: thus... all intermediate gradations reciprocally evoke each other; the simpler colour demanding the compound, and vice versa"

 

N.B. Goethe also included aesthetic qualities in his colour wheel, under the title of "allegorical, symbolic, mystic use of colour" (Allegorischer, symbolischer, mystischer Gebrauch der Farbe), establishing colour psychology. He associated red with the "beautiful", orange with the "noble", yellow to the "good", green to the "useful", blue to the "common", and violet to the "unnecessary". These six qualities were assigned to four categories of human cognition, the rational (Vernunft) to the beautiful and the noble (red and orange), the intellectual (Verstand) to the good and the useful (yellow and green), the sensual (Sinnlichkeit) to the useful and the common (green and blue) and, closing the circle, imagination (Phantasie) to both the unnecessary and the beautiful (purple and red).

 

Kandinsky in 'Concerning the Spiritual in Art' goes on to analyse colour and states that ‘inner necessity' is the principle of art and the foundation for the harmony of colours. He then goes on to describe that “yellow has warmness and moves towards us whereas blue has coldness and moves away from us. The resulting mixture, green, yields to total immobility and calm". Maybe that is what Mondrian did not like green, it was to calm and was not strong enough on its own. The fact that colour is so integral to artists fascinated me, because it means that there is a conscientious attitude towards colour and it is not just instinct.

 

Pattern is a way to control the materials that I use. Pattern, as a term, can also mean template, but I associate it when stating that it organises surfaces and structures in a consistent, regular manner. Continuing from that tessellation is the tiling of a plane using one or more geometric shapes with no overlaps or gaps. Zellige a form of Islamic art uses geometric patterned mosaics to ornament. Mandalas, although not a form of geometry take on the pattern/symmetry aspect - these are used to represent to cosmos, a microcosm of the universe.

Bridget Riley

Bridget Riley

Richard Wright

Richard Wright

Richard Wright

Tessellation, in tile form

Dominic Beattie

Dominic Beattie

Adolf Loo's House [House with No Eyebrows]

 
 

Dominic Beattie