In my post about Kandinsky I mentioned that one of the reasons I struggle to “experience” abstract art the way it is intended is because my brain doesn’t think abstractly; I think linearly, scientifically, and mathematically. I realized that in order for people to better understand the way my brain processes, in terms of art, they must understand what art I find beautiful, amazing, and stunning. For some people, when a Pollock paining is put in front of them, they are left in awe; for me, an Escher piece leaves me in shock. M.C. Escher was a Dutch graphic artist from the mid 1900’s; he is most known for his mathematically inspired pieces. Below is my favorite piece of art ever made, Circle Limit IV, a tessellation made by Escher in 1960.
This piece is commonly called Heaven and Hell, Angels and Devils or Angels and Demons. There are simply two objects in this piece, angels in the light space and demons in the dark space. There is absolutely no empty space. This is an amazing piece to me for many reasons; the fact that there is no empty space is impressive. Also the piece contrasts in color and in subject; Heaven and Hell, are there any two more contrasting things… other than black and white? I always thought this was amazing because these two opposing symbols fit together perfectly, there is no space between them, only two things, good and evil. Below is an image of Escher working on Circle Limit IV.
What I want to point out in this picture is the wooden sculpture on the table. All of Escher’s Circle Limit pieces can be made into a three dimensional sphere and still work perfectly without any empty space. This is the most beautiful aspect of Circle Limit IV to me, it can fill the entire space with only two objects which are two extremely contrasting symbols, and not have any space that isn’t one of the two objects. This piece is extremely mathematical but mathematically amazing and for this reason it is beautiful to me, a linear and mathematical thinker.
One important thing I want to note about Escher is the time at which he made art. Escher made artwork before, throughout, and a little after the Abstract Expressionism Period. This means that during this time, there were two types of art going on at the same time, the art that would appeal to someone like me and art that would appeal to more abstract thinkers. The art world allows for two styles of art to happen at the same time because there are two types of thinkers.
I hope that by explaining my favorite piece of art my way of thinking can be better understood. I also wanted to make it clear that I actually appreciate some art; I just don’t see the artistic beauty in abstract art. I’m sure there are people who find Escher’s pieces as being simple and not very amazing, these people probably enjoy abstract art much more than I do. Neither opinion is right or wrong, just different.