Rudolf Arnheim fans/critics?

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Jay L Gordon's picture
Joined: 22 Jan 2006 - 1:13pm
Rudolf Arnheim fans/critics?

I came across last year's discussion of "color" and was intrigued by hrant's comment:

"Totally even color is a solid gray blob - 100% unreadable. Good typography on the other hand relies on a balance of white and black, on a balance of even color and color contrast. Information comes from contrast, not a gray blob. Some people are just not sufficiently in tune with the underlying mechanics of how humans see and interpret things, and not sufficiently critical of precedent, to be able to see the shiny Modernist mantras for the claptrap that they really are; all they do is perpetuate meaningless myths that nobody really even believes in."

Ok, aside from the blanket condemnation of a mysterious "some people," the point sounds a lot like Arnheim, but Arnheim would take it a step further-- it's not about "balance" but about creating tensions in the visual space that sort of hang together in a balancing of tensions. Perfect symmetry, for example, is "balanced" but also dull. For most people who've done or looked at art and design, Arnheim is just talking about what we call good "composition." But his point is not just to identify it, but to explain how it works, perceptually. It's all from Gestalt psych, plus a good bit of Gombrich thrown in. I'm just wondering if there are any fans or critics out there, and what insights you have.

Here's some stuff on Arnheim:


Alessandro Segalini's picture
Joined: 5 Oct 2005 - 5:14pm

This Monkey’s Gone to Heaven & If the Devil is Six than God is Seven.
Against Anti-foundationalism", by Elliott Earls

You might also find useful to consider why/how 'canon' and 'rule' differ – although some hardcore theorists may find the notion of the 'canon' strictly solidly behind the one of 'style'.