3·1: Figures straddle both centers.
4·1: Figures straddle both centers.
Figures shown with boundaries.
Composition of figures in a field.
Figure 3: Aligned figures.
Figure 4: Staggered figures.
Figure 5: Edge-aligned figures.
Figure 6: Fitted figures.
5·1: Figures relate to adjacent sides.
6·1: Figures suggest interlinked composition.
3·2: Resulting space is highly defined.
Figures viewed as solid volumes.
4·2: Interior and exterior fields result.
5·2: Peripheral fields result from arrangement.
6·2: Reciprocal fields defined by figure positions.
Variation & elaborations
There are multiple ways of diagramming and represent-ing the idea of space as it reflects an articulated figure-ground composition. The examples on the following pages display various possible diagrams taken from the four compositional types seen in .
Each figure-ground type generates its own unique spatial gestalt patterns within and beyond the bound-aries of the ground. They imply force fields perpendicu-larly from all edges of the figures. We represent this phenomenon using gradient tone.
As we might expect, the alignment of the two fig-ures in our first composition defines the middle shared space and implies both horizontal and vertical exten-sions of the spatial gestalt (). A staggered composi-tion necessarily produces an augmented, shared zone at the overlapping portion of the force fields (). Edge-aligned compositions – as in the example – produce a more highly charged area defined by the common boundary of the figures ().
The fitted figures in composition, by virtue of their proximity, suggest a negative space as a near-visible white figure ().
To describe specific, bounded areas brought about by these examples of spatial gestalt, we might now add a third element to the dualism of figure-ground com-position, the element we will call field
3·3: Diagram reveals the effec-tive tartan grid.
3·4: The courtyard field reveals the internal geometry.
Spatial gestalt diagram using tone.
4·3: Spatial gestalt shows comparable density.
5·3: Gestalt implies a variable cruciform.
6·3: Gestalt diagram suggests field density.
Defined field shown as tone.
4·4: Small courtyard shared between forms.
5·4: Side courtyard defined.
6·4: Central field addresses three figures together.
4·5: Defined fields partially surround courtyard.
4·6: Defined fields extend from figures.
Alternative defined fields shown as tone.
5·5: Alternate side courtyard defined.
6·5: Side courts connect the figures adjacently.
6·6: Side courts separate the figures into two parts.
5·6: Twin, separate side courts defined.
Additional defined fields shown as tone.
Figures shown with
boundaries. Figures viewed as solid
Variation & elaborations
Composition of figures in a field.
Figure 7: Aligned figures.
Figure 8: Staggered figures.
Figure 9: Edge-aligned figures.
Figure 10: Fitted figures.
7·1: Figures shift from both centers.
8·1: Figures approximate balance.
9·1: Figures oppose across the diagonal.
10·1: Figures shift balance to the upper right.
7·2: Resulting space remains clearly defined.
8·2: Exterior fields dominate the result.
9·2: Peripheral fields suggest larger figure.
10·2: Reciprocal fields aggre-gate toward the center.
In this set of examples, the alignment of the two fig-ures the composition defines a larger middle shared space implying both horizontal and vertical space but enlarges the vertical dimension of that space – effec-tively placing greater distance between the two ele-ments (). The two figures begin as equals in size.
The staggered composition has more spatial ten-sion and the slight difference in width is, as a conse-quence, noticeable (). Despite the increased distance between figures, the edge-aligned composition sustain a charged sense on connection along the common boundary of the figures ().
The increased distance has the greatest effect on the fitted figures composition (). As there is greater scale affinity among the figures, the apparent figure found in the negative space is similarly clearer, despite the larger vertical separation.
Spatial gestalt diagram
using tone. Defined field shown as
tone. Alternative defined fields
shown as tone. Alternative defined fields shown as tone.
7·3: Diagram reveals vertical bias.
7·4: The courtyard field favors the internal geometry.
8·3: Spatial gestalt reflects balance.
9·3: Center again dominates field gestalt.
10·3: Gestalt diagram reinforces dynamic reciprocity.
8·4: Small courtyard transits between forms.
9·4: Forecourt dominates smaller figure.
10·4: Central field suggest a balanced hierarchy.
8·5: Defined fields appear to surround a connecting link.
8·6: Defined fields expand from figures.
9·5: Alternate side court sug-gests sequence.
10·5: Side courts create a large connected figure.
10·6: The two groups manifest the gestalt reciprocity.
9·6: Side courts define sequen-tial balanced composition.
Diagram 1·1: Figures occupy a centered square.
Figure 1: Four compositions of aligned figures illustrate changes in proximity and proportion.
Figure 2: As the figures stagger, overall proportions change as does the dynamic and balance within each composition.
Figure 3: The edge-aligned fig-ures, occupying corners of the bounded space, stabilize each overall composition change, as does the dynamic and balance within each composition.
Figure 4: The fitted figures, occupying the bounded space in a reciprocated rhythm and create a syncopated dynamic of horizontal and vertical counterpoint.
Diagram 1·2: Lower figure and negative space define a square.
Diagram 1·3: Each figure and negative space define a square.
Diagram 1·4: Equal aligned figures spaced far apart.
Diagram 2·1: Figures define negative space as a pinwheel.
Diagram 2·2: Figures define a centered square.
Diagram 2·3: Defined negative space dominates.
Diagram 2·4: Figures stagger across large central square.
Diagram 3·1: Figures define serpentine negative space.
Diagram 3·2: Serpentine nega-tive space occupy the square.
Diagram 3·3: Negative space balances the composition.
Diagram 3·4: Negative space dominates the composition.
Diagram 4·1: Figures define syncopated negative space.
Diagram 4·2: Negative space completes the square.
Diagram 4·3: Negative space adheres the figures.
Diagram 4·4: Negative space emphasizes separations.