Wednesday, July 14, 2021

A Mere Hint of Outer Meaning

"This essential connection between color and form brings us to the question of the influences of form on color. Form alone, even though totally abstract and geometrical, has a power of inner suggestion. A triangle (without the accessory consideration of its being acute — or obtuse — angled or equilateral) has a spiritual value of its own. In connection with other forms, this value may be somewhat modified, but remains in quality the same. The case is similar with a circle, a square, or any conceivable geometrical figure [which has] a subjective substance in an objective shell…

The mutual influence of form and color now becomes clear. A yellow triangle, a blue circle, a green square, or a green triangle, a yellow circle, a blue square—all these are different and have different spiritual values.
Form often is most expressive when least coherent. It is often most expressive when outwardly most imperfect, perhaps only a stroke, a mere hint of outer meaning.
Every object has its own life and therefore its own appeal; man is continually subject to these appeals. But the results are often dubbed either sub- or super-conscious. Nature, that is to say the ever-changing surroundings of man, sets in vibration the strings of the piano (the soul) by manipulation of the keys (the various objects with their several appeals)."

- Wassily Kandinsky (1866 - 1944)

Postscript. My apologies to subscribers who expect - rightfully - to receive an image, quote, and/or other musings on a regular basis! Due to the inevitable vagaries of "day job" responsibilities, it has been difficult to find time to re-acquaint myself with my camera ... so, please be patient, as I'll likely be "offline" for the next few weeks as well 😞 In the meantime, the lone image(s) I've managed to expose in well over a month, and arranged in triptych form above, provide a bit of solace. They are each (almost) undisturbed patterns I found under my feet as I was reading a research paper in my mother-in-law's garden in Florida. Followers of my blog may recall that I had - up until the age of 10 (i.e., 50 years ago!) - the most common form of synesthesia (a "crossing of the senses"), wherein I "saw" even numbers as "warm tones," and odd numbers as "cold" tones. But I also have a vestigial remnant of perceiving certain patterns as sound. It has never been as pronounced as my memory of the "visual/number - color" crossing, but it has been with me throughout my life. However, never have I had as intense a synesthetic experience as I did in mother-in-law's garden when eyes/brain glanced at the arrangement you see up above. I literally hear jazz-like music as I look at them. The Kandinsky quote appears of necessity in this context, since he was an acknowledged synesthete (and whose abstracts the natural “random” assemblies shown above remind me so much of!). For those of you who want a quick and fun read about what is currently known about synesthesia, a good place to start is a non-technical discussion by one of synesthesia's pioneer researchers, Richard Cytowic.