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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Patterns of Man and Nature a Pondering....

My recent and past interest and appreciation for pattern created from single photographic images, has peaked my intellectual curiosity, about why? (well that could be a psychological exploration too, but I am not going there). As a result, today I have been doing some research on the history of patterns in art. As I began to ponder this I looked around at my environment and I have oriental rugs on the floor with medallion centers and symmetrical patterns emanating from them in almost every room in my house, except the kitchen and there I have a more modern geometric patterned rug. I have patterns on my sofa fabrics and wall whats up with all this pattern? Hmmm...obviously it is something because it has existed in art since man existed, it exists in nature like in snowflakes, and it is not a novelty, instead a DNA rhythm I think. Even DNA itself is patterned. So I am not crazy, just in the flow of patterns. But maybe a little obsessed with the endless digital opportunities to create them from some images that work into this idea. I find them to be most beautiful, and it is fascinating how they come together. For my fascination, I can always blame it on that darned cardboard Kaleidoscope I received when I was a kid...or my love of interior design using patterns and fabrics or art and its history of pattern....or just DNA! I enjoyed this site by The Metropolitan and wanted to share some art history of interest. My next post will be some patterns! ; - )
For instance..while doing some research today...I looked at this Bannerstone created in North America and noticed the striking balance of design and pattern of rock seemingly duplicated.

Bannerstones are weights for spear-throwers, the long shafts that propelled the actual darts, thus extending the thrower's reach. In use in North America for some 3,000 years beginning in the fourth millennium B.C., bannerstones took many and varied forms. The form of the present example is known as a double-notched butterfly. It is made of banded slate, a material frequently used in bannerstone manufacture. While bannerstones are functionally utilitarian, the consistent selection of materials and their careful, balanced workmanship distinguish them and indicate their worth as esteemed objects as well as tools. Many have been discovered in burials and funerary mounds in the Ohio and Illinois valleys, for instance, further evidence of their value in ancient times. Bannerstones were out of favor by about 1000 B.C., but spear-throwers persisted in use in a few areas of North America until the sixteenth century. However, by that time spear-throwers had largely been supplanted by bows and arrows.

Source: Bannerstone [Archaic peoples; Ohio] (1979.206.403) | Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History | The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Looking at other patterns of man how about a Mayan bowl:
Bowls with three sturdy feet and more or less straight sides are so identified with central highland Teotihuacan that their presence anywhere else in Mexico is considered evidence of the great city's influence. Teotihuacan tripods were made in a wide range of size, color, and surface treatment, and were widely disseminated in ancient Mesoamerica, whether by trade or by warfare is not completely resolved. The present example is reported to be from a burial site in the Basin of Mexico called Santiago Ahuizotla, which is known to have been dug in the 1940s by local inhabitants. The surface is carved in very low relief; the main motif is a large feathered headdress. Smaller symbols are stacked in the center of the headdress—a half-star at the top, a feathered eye in the center, and a "reptile-eye" at the bottom. Scholars associate the reptile-eye with mortuary symbolism, underscoring the probable burial function of the vessel.

Source: Tripod Vessel [Mexico; Teotihuacan] (1979.206.364) | Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History | The Metropolitan Museum of Art
  Or how about African rock art?
Elands Bay Cave, Western Cape, South Africa.
Image courtesy of Rock Art Research Institute, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa.

Decorated handprints are one of the enigmatic images of the southern zone. It is now thought that Khoi herders made them and not San hunter-gathers. Although they are images in a sense, it is now believed that such decorated handprints may be more concerned with touching the rock surface than with intentional efforts to create an image. It is thought that they are the residual markings of rituals that involved contacting the spirit-world behind the rock surface.

Source: African Rock Art of the Southern Zone | Thematic Essay | Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History | The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Or how about the French Art Deco of fabric patterns???
Textile, ca. 1923
Paul Poiret (French, 1879–1944); manufacturer: La Maison Martine
Printed linen
72 x 50 in. (182.9 x 127 cm)
Purchase, Edward C. Moore, Jr. Gift, 1923 (23.14.8)
Martine, which opened on April 1, 1911, was the interior design business owned and operated by Paul Poiret, a noted Parisian couturier. The business consisted of École Martine, Atelier Martine, and La Maison Martine. École Martine (housed in Poiret's premises in rue d'Antin) was an experimental art school for young, working-class girls. Under the direction of design educator Marguerite Gabriel-Claude Sérusier, these untrained girls sketched plants and animals in local parks and zoos. Poiret bought the best of their drawings, which were adapted for use by Atelier Martine, the design studio. At first, Atelier Martine produced only textiles and wallpapers, but soon expanded to create carpets, lighting, hand-painted glassware and ceramics, and other items for interiors (including dolls outfitted by Poiret). Furniture and interior decorating services were introduced under the direction of Guy-Pierre Fauconnet. Little is known about the manufacturers of their products, but it is unlikely that the atelier was able to realize most of their designs in-house, turning instead to outside specialists: Paul Dumas or Defossé & Karth for wallpapers, Adolphe Chanaux for furniture, and Murano for glassware. One notable exception was the deep pile carpets, hand-knotted by the students. The output of the atelier was sold through the retail and interior design service of the business, La Maison Martine. The shop was located at 107, rue du Faubourg Saint Honoré; it remained there until 1924, when it moved to 1, Rond-Point des Champs-Élysées. By the early 1920s, branches had been opened in Marseilles, Cannes, Biarritz, Deauville, La Baule, as well as in London and Vienna. Martine products were actively promoted and sold in department stores in America and Germany.

Source: Paul Poiret: Textile (23.14.8) | Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History | The Metropolitan Museum of Art

And if the art of man in pattern doesn't covince one just take a look at the Fractal patterns in nature, which now science is beginning to really delve is wondrous! I am sure I could study this for a lifetime....I love patterns!

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