Negative space is a term for the space (or absence of content) around and between the subject of an image. Depending how the negative space is used, our brains fill in the missing information (see image No. 7), or it is used as “breathing room” to keep things legible, uncluttered, and aesthetically pleasing (see image No. 5).
In his book The Art of Looking Sideways, Alan Fletcher addresses the powerful effect and influence of utilizing space in the creative arts and as a philosophy.
Space is substance. Cézanne painted and modeled space. Giacometti sculpted by “taking the fat off space“. Mallarmé conceived poems with absences as well as words. Ralph Richardson asserted that acting lay in pauses… Isaac Stern described music as “that little bit between each note – silences which give the form“… The Japanese have a word (ma) for this interval which gives shape to the whole. In the West we have neither word nor term. A serious omission.
In this age of modern conveniences and technologies, we are continuously inundated with stimuli that bombard our senses and fool us into thinking that we’re too busy for peace and quiet. But in those times of pause, peace, rest, space – that is when we regain our balance and are allowed to imagine and create. That space is essential to reflect, meditate, and exercise temperance. To achieve that balance, we must guard our personal time as sacred.
This week, our inspiration is anchored in that need for balance and space. In our designs. In our lives.