Part 2, Project 1, Research looking at Positive and Negative Space

This research point is asking me to look at artists working today and how they use positive and negative space within a picture. The artist given as an example is Gary Hume who uses abstract shape to form pleasing shapes in both the negative and positive space.


I am not a fan, but I like the colours and shapes in this picture called American Tan.

The colours used not only highlight the figure but seem to conjoin the whole vision. Looking at the above painting the shapes used in the main are imperfect rectangles which seem to add to the working effect, the whole composition shows how both the negative and positive shape bring balance to the picture, whilst framing the subject.


Lisa Milroy is a nice example of using positive and negative space, her background and shadow seem to make the objects pop off the page. The painting with its shapes, colour and shade make the eye take in whole scene, the eye doesn’t rest there it then moves to look at the individual shapes within the picture.

This Cherry Blossom painting below, has a very clever management of both negative and positive space, the use of shadow, border and background lifts each picture to make it stand out on its own, the geometric shapes bringing the whole painting together as a one. I like the grey spaces these are like the commas in a sentence and give the viewer’s eyes a resting place before following their path, they also give balance and depth.


In this Mixed Media piece Shovel, the negative space is painted in such a way that it defines the shape of the lower shovel and shaft which is in fact the positive area of the picture.. The handle however is opposite the positive shape stands out against the negative which is a lighter colour. The balance of the piece is kept with the slim rectangular shape formed by the negative area of the painting.


Exploded Shed, which is a reconstructed exploded shed, is a good example of an artist exploring negative and positive space. The negative space in the sculpture, is lit allowing the light to fall it in such a way, that the negative space could now be viewed as the positive space.


I know this is not one particular artist but I couldn’t resist annotating this artwork. Like a number of graphic designs the clever use of negative space in logos can say a lot more than the positive design allows by itself. The logo below has an outline of Africa within the legs of the Elephant. I really admire this use of negative space.


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