Abstract Motifs

Recently I talked about the similarity of some terminology between music and graphic art. One of the expressions I alluded to was Motif. In music a motif might consist of a particular grouping of notes or recurring rhythmic patterns. In art the motifs might be reused shapes, colors or related arrangements of objects. In these three new abstracts there are several elements that I would consider motivic. Circles are a dominant recurring shape. The use of overlapping elements is motivic in putting the composition together. Another motif that occurs in all three is the parallel grouping of three or more line segments. The partial “framing” of lines at the edges of all three is another motivic element.

The way I normally create these abstracts is through trial and error, evolving the composition as I go. That holds true with these pieces as well but once I had finished the first one, there were elements that I really liked so I tried consciously to reuse them as motifs in each. It’s a slightly different approach and a bit more deliberate than the serendipitous method I often use. I think the three relate well to each other because of the reused motivic elements.

The motivic relationship of the three abstracts might be more obvious when seen side by side.

Author: Jeff Gold

I'm a retired musician (oboist) now living in Vermont and exploring various avenues of art, urban sketching, life drawing, block printing and digital abstractions.

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