The Illusion of Space Design elements in creating space in two dimensions
Overlapping- involves one shape obscuring another or shapes overlapping each other. This is a more traditional form of overlapping. You can tell that the objects that you see completely, are closest to the viewer, in front. The objects that are overlapped by other objects are understood to be further away. The lipstick overlaps the Marilyn Monroe photograph. The lipstick is closer. Notice that where the colors overlap each other, to create letters, they change color. Doesn’t it seem that we are looking at layers of transparent paper?
Similar objects getting smaller The people in the photograph are similarly shaped and get smaller. We automatically understand that the smaller people are further away. Op Art painting by Bridget Riley, 1960’s. This painting is creating the illusion of space with progressively smaller squares.
Transparency The veil is transparent. Notice how her skin color is different when seen through the transparent veil. We have no problem determining that the fabric passes in front of her face. Dale Chihuly, glass blowing artist. This wall is made of glass. It is easy to see, because the colors change when they overlap transparently, which ones are forward and which ones are in the background.
Forced or Exaggerated Perspective This photograph was taken from underneath the child looking up. Her feet are huge and her head is very small in comparison. She seems like a giant in size. MC Escher, Globe, 1900s. The shape of the globe distorts its reflected environment thus making us aware of its spherical form.
Scale or proportion Ron Mueck, sculptor, 2000s This is an example of scale. The man’s face is a large scale version of a normal face. Because it is a real three dimensional object it changes our sense of space, by its presence. This is an example of proportion. The woman on the left is the real person. The image on the right is an image of how she would look if she was a Barbie doll; small waist, long legs, large bust.
Atmospheric Perspective Changes in the atmosphere create a sense of depth. Notice how, in this landscape, the closer areas ( to the viewer) have more color and detail. The farther the distance the more neutral, bluer and grayer, and less detailed the mountains become.
Linear perspective Linear perspective deals with lines converging at a point in the distance. The picture on the left is an example of that. The image on the right is by MC Escher. He loves to play with the rules of linear perspective. He has created a maze of steps and entrances.
Shapes, at the top of the picture plane, are understood to be further away in space.
Final Notes or not: Like the Principles of Design, there are usually more than one of these principles in play in any one, two dimensional design or artwork. This painting is by George Gris. It is an example of surrealism. Surrealism is a style of art that has a dreamlike quality to it. Itemploys several of the principles of creating the illusion of space; It uses transparency ( the bubble), shapes at the top of the page are further away, atmospheric perspective ( grayer, less detailed in the background) , similar objects getting smaller ( trees) .