Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Art, simplicity or complexity?

I’ve been back and forth in the past about whether art, in the widest sense, should be about simplicity or complexity. I more and more realise that it really has to be both. If too simple, it has no power. You can’t make a picture with four pixels. But if too complex, it does not communicate. The receiver can’t take in millions of elements at once.

 It seems to me the most powerful formula is a simple core for quick communication, and added, more subtle complexity for deeper power, to be revealed with time and attention.

Running Yellow Man, Stobblehouse


Russ said...

Can you make the argument that Mark Rothko's images are too simple? He frequently painted just a couple of large squares with few colors.

Joe Dick said...

I like this one. Looks to me like a person of pure energy escaping from or being sucked into chaos. Pretty cool.

Andy R said...

I think complexity and simplicity can be like a ying and a yang of the same thing. Complexity can be made out of simplicity, just a lot of it. Think of fractals for example. A very simple mathematical formula can give range to very complex shapes if repeated millions of times. And the fascination of the complexity is that it has perfect structure and order.

But structure doesn't have to be orderly. Sometimes some element of disorder creates tension or contrast, and it is the gift of a good artist to know just how to create that dissonance that makes thing interesting, beautiful even.