do sign, symbol and metaphor relate to the world of art?
Works of art become most meaningful for us when they evoke thoughts and feelings. This occurs when we venture beyond merely identifying a work's visual elements (the character of its lines, shapes, colors, etc.) and the ways in which these elements are organized. It is essential to consider the proposition that works of art speak to us through both their formal organization and the signs, symbols and metaphors that can be associated with them. How these additional components can be defined and identified is demonstrated through the following series of exercises.
does one move beyond what is literally there?
|shape A||shape B|
A and B are drawings of simple shapes. To the left of
these shapes are two words. Which word relates to which
shape? If you sound-out each word you should readily
associate shape B with "tactility" because this
word's piercing, staccato-like sounds correspond to the
sharp angularity of the shape. The soft, undulating
rhythms associated with "bambino" conform to
the round, flowing character of shape A.
We have just demonstrated that there are implied meanings in both aural and visual forms that are elicited by the nature of what actually exists within these stimuli. Everyone can sense how differences in sound and appearance evoke variations in feelings and thoughts, even though there are only lines that define shapes or letters that create words.
In our next exercise we see another example of this phenomenon. Words can appear in type faces in such a way that what the word describes can actually be felt. The character of the letters evoke these kinds of associations.