Sunday, 30 November 2014


The final look at Moonstrips here is at the pattern-rich picture prints, six of them below:

It would be difficult to overrate the value of pattern in artistic practice.  It enables the creation of visual harmonies, symmetry and rhythms.  These can be highly instrumental in manipulating the viewer’s mood, (usually towards calmness), as well as their visual experience.  And, where a pattern is interrupted/disturbed, a sense of unease can be evoked.

Pattern helps establish order and solidity – in traditional painting think for example of how Vermeer’s tiled floors underpin the 3D effect of his interiors.  In modern art, where there is no concern with perspective, pattern has often been used to ground and integrate disparate imagery within a single painting/print – this is a technique of Paolozzi’s.  His chequers and squares and stripes slosh about on a print like the stock of a soup in which the diverse chunks of pictures/words can be seen and appreciated as part of something which overall is more appealing than the individual ingredients. 

Whilst the use of pattern for integrating purposes is so notable in prints such as A formula that can shatter into a million glass bullets in the Universal Electronic Vacuum suite:


that portfolio also included continuous pattern images such as Memory Matrix, (below), similar to those seen in Moonstrips.

Paolozzi collected patterns as raw materials for his collages – as he did all sorts of images/objects – from a vast range of sources:  food boxes, sweet wrappers, crochet patterns, engineering drawings, etc.  It is pleasing to see that these often mundane visual devices live on beyond their original context in some of the very best artworks of the mid-Twentieth Century.

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