This sense of process as inspiration for a form is often created as an illusion in abstract art that was painstakingly planned in execution instead. But sometimes the illusion is faithful to the artist's mode of inspiration.
In developing The Rope Dancer Accompanies Herself with Her Shadows to describe a vaudeville performer's tightrope dance, Man Ray initially discarded several scraps of colored paper he had cut for the collage to create shapes reminiscent of her acrobatic movements. But when he noticed the chance arrangement they made on his studio floor formed an abstract pattern of interest, he decided he could compare this accidental pattern with the shadows the dancer had cast and used it to complete his collage.
Arthur Dove, considered to be the first American abstract art paintings, learned to paint from a naturalist and worked with abstractions from natural subjects in the process he called "extraction," focusing on the essential details of a landscape's form. This is most evident in his famous painting Tanks, depicting massive tanker-steamer ships at harbor. In Foghorns, he experimented with the depiction of sound waves themselves.
The sounds radiate out from the shoreline and towards the lamplight on the deck of a ship in pale grayish reds, like the diaphanous speakers of huge gramophones. They establish perspective on the distance from the beach by their relative size or nearness.
But some modern artists like the group Der Blaue Reiter wanted to go further and unify the arts in individual compositions or an ideal, immaterial form. Under their influence, artist Wassily Kandinsky developed and published an aesthetic theory that built on the musicology of Scriabin, to advance the idea that music can literally be depicted in a painting.
Kandinsky had synesthesia, a phenomenon he felt is comparable to the sympathy of musical tones. It is an unusual neurological condition that interferes with the perception of images and sound so that phenomena as color can also be heard.
He defended his theories of direct synesthesia against psychologists who understood artistic synesthesia as strictly a matter of associational logic. Kandinsky described synesthesia as a transposition of experience from one of the five senses to another. His paintings Fugue, Opposing Chords and Funeral March develop visually for the audience experiences he himself could also hear as musical compositions.
Set designer David Hockney, novelist Vladimir Nabokov and composer Olivier Messiaen also had synesthesia. Baudelaire and Rimbaud wrote poetry evocative of synesthetic effects although they themselves did not have the condition. Baudelaire argued that it would be surprising if sound could not suggest color, "seeing that things have always found their expression through a system of reciprocal analogy." Many modern paintings use musical subjects as titles and inspiration.
Similarly, Italian Futurist Filippo Tommaso Marinetti worked with ideas like the ability of knees and elbows to see, and his wife introduced Tactilism into modern wall art. Synesthetic dissonance was also a topic of interest to innovative composer Arnold Schoenberg. For these artists, synesthesia represented a potent metaphor for mixed media compositions and artifacts.
Related Articles -
modern wall art, abstract art paintings, abstract wall art,