Wednesday, May 18, 2011

What is "tension" in art?

To me it's obvious that part of the reason I like the picture above is that it has "tension" in the composition. But I was just challenged to define that, and I'm struggling a bit with it.

Can anybody help? What makes for a composition which has good Tension?

... It has something to do with the different elements of the frame, and the play between harmony or disharmony between them. Perhaps the play between connection and disconnection between them.

All harmony and connection is pleasant, but boring and probably not important. All disharmony and disconnection is discordant and unpleasant, and unproductive. There has to be a play between them, I think.
(This goes for music and writing too, surely.)


Ray said...

Perhaps, the juxtaposition of opposing elements?

Russ said...'s definition of tension is:

a balance between and interplay of opposing elements or tendencies (especially in art or literature)

OK, I know this won't necessarily make you smack yourself on your forehead and yell out, "but of course"!

However, I think in TCGirl's image that you used as an example, the opposing elements would be the sand and the sea. And there definitely is a balance and interplay between them.

emptyspaces said...

I'm not feeling tension in this example...but I do feel a sense of peace. I just got back from a midnight walk on the beach, and this photo just makes me feel good.

Nice shot, TCGirl!

TC [Girl] said...

Russ & Ray said...
"a balance between and interplay of opposing elements..."

Right. That was what I came up with, as well, after thinking about what Eo must have meant, when he used the word "tension." Just threw me off, at first, as I had not heard it used that way, before. I'm new at all this, ya know. :-)

Hey, emptyspaces, thanks. Lucky "Dawg" you have a beach to walk on @ midnight and full moons! Yum! Glad the shot makes ya feel good. "Mission Accomplished!" The ocean/beach does same for me; can't get enough of it, myself! :-P

Not sure if you caught the set that Eo (Thanks, Dood! :0) posted, the other day (and there are more there, as well), so I'll link to same, here. Hope you enjoy! :-D were working w/a different definition of "tension," there, but...I'm glad that the shot also invoked peace, for you! Cool! :-D

eolake said...

Thanks, Russ.

Yes, there's a "struggle of power" in those two elements.