Monday, July 26, 2021

 The principle of "figure-ground" contrast can be phrased as a question: “Which part of this silhouetted image is “figure” and which is “(back)ground?”  

When an image is printed with Tangled Pods Small (below), spaces between the pods can be considered “positive” (“figure”), whereas the pods themselves can be seen as “negative” (“ground/background.”)  The negative spaces formed by the blue areas define the shape of the pods.

But the reverse can be true too.  Stained randomly with purple, the white areas can be considered positive and the blue areas can be considered negative, especially, in this case, because the color blue visually recedes in the perception of viewers.  

Above:  printed with blue acrylic paint on white watercolor paper previously stained purple3 in random areas; mask used:  S582 Tangled Pods Small (6" x 6")

The same perception and the same reversal are likewise possible when printing with s581 Dangled Pods Small (6" x 6"), shown next -- 

My first reaction would be to say that the pods are the figure and the purple-pink areas are the ground.  But a case could be made for the opposite perception to be equally valid.

 Made with s581 Dangled Pods Small (6" x 6".)

Each of these 6" x 6” stencils resembles -- but doesn’t duplicate -- its big-sister, each of which measures 9” x 12” –- Dangled Pods Stencil and Tangled Pods Stencil. 

L344 Tangled Pods Stencil (9" x 12")

L 490 Dangled Pods Stencil (9" x 12")

The little sister and big sister stencils work well together.  All four stencils work together even better!

Above:  Left is step 1; right is step 2.

Above:  Two prints made with 6" x 6" Small Tangled Pods.  Method:  (Step 1)  After using this stencil in the traditional way, daubing acrylic paint thru the stencil with a sponge applicator, (Step 2) I immediately flipped the stencil over and, using it like a rubber stamp, pressed its still-wet paint onto another pale blue paper.

In the close-up below, I used the same method, in multiple layers, alternating between the two 6" x 6" stencils -- Small Tangled Pods and Small Dangled Pods.  The top layer of zinc white paint was made with Small Dangled Pods.  

The fact that these two stencils are exact opposites makes it a lot of fun to use them together!  And multiple layers make it impossible to decide which imagery is figure and which is ground.

Below is another example of combination usage.  This is a close-up showing imprints made with Dangled Pads Small, Tangled Pods Small (both 6" x 6") and Tangled Pods Stencil (9" x 12".)

Below is yet another example of an artwork that purposely confuses the eye as to which is figure and which is ground --

Used:  L344 Tangled Pods Stencil (9" x 12") and L 490 Dangled Pods Stencil (9" x 12")

A similar example is below. Its multiple layers are all set to mess with the issue of figure-vs.-ground.....

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