Proximity And Juxtaposition Essay, Research Paper
Proximity and Juxtaposition
In order to properly compare and contrast the similarities between juxtaposition and proximity a definition is surely needed of the two. Proximity for instance, refers to the relative nearness of forms, and how that effects the relationship between them. Juxtaposition on the other hand, refers to the way in which elements or forms are placed next to each other. Juxtaposition and proximity are two important aspects of design that are often used together and must be taken into account when creating a work of art.
One similarity between juxtaposition and proximity is that they both have the ability to communicate what type of connection should be made between a grouping of elements or forms. For example, when referring to proximity, if the elements are placed closely together in a design, they relay to the viewer that they are a group, and they should be translated as one.
The way 2 elements are placed together (juxtaposition) conveys a relationship as well. An example of this is in Gustav Klimt?s art work (see last 2 pages) titled, “The Kiss” (Gombridge 65). In Klimt?s painting a man and a woman are placed next to each other in an interesting way. The forms of their bodies are distorted and resemble the abstraction of melting and movement. There is an obvious relationship between the two forms which would not be as apparent if the forms were not juxtaposed the way that Klimt chose to. The bodies are vertically aligned, so that a oneness can be achieved. Had the man been upright and the woman horizontally placed across the ground, the two forms would communicate differently. The feeling of movement, melting, and oneness, would surely lose its? intensity.
Taking an even closer look at Gustav Klimt?s art work, the viewer may focus on the geometric shapes within the 2 forms. At first the viewer notices that rectangular shapes are juxtaposed within the male form, and a majority of the woman?s form is filled with circular shapes. However, towards the lower and upper parts of their bodies, juxtaposition and proximity are used to form a relationship between the rectangular and circular shapes. There are a few rectangles and circles placed so close to one another and in such a way that the onlooker can no longer distinguish between the man?s and the woman?s bodies. This seems to cause the man and the woman?s bodies to form a union.
One difference between juxtaposition and proximity that seems to be clear is, when using the term juxtaposition the elements of the design that are juxtaposed must be close together. However, proximity allows the 2 elements or forms to be any distance from one another. The two main elements of subject may be very close, such as seen in Gustav Klimt?s, “The Kiss, or they may be far apart as in example number 2 in black and white (internet resource). The association between these 2 men (or forms) can be discussed easily in terms of proximity. However, juxtaposition does not seem to apply in this case, due to the distance between the 2 forms.
The two men in this picture are placed fairly distant from one another. There is a definite mood that their placement seems to expose. In this picture it is quite obvious that the onlooker can acquire a feeling of coldness and discomfort due to the placement of the 2 men. As mentioned earlier, proximity can relay a relationship between 2 forms or elements. In a design or picture the elements need not be people to evoke emotion, due to proximity. Had the 2 men been 2 squares, they too would have revealed the same sort of reaction. The 2 squares would not be viewed as 2 elements unified as one. They would release a feeling of discomfort and isolation between one another, due to the mere fact that they are not in close proximity with one another.
The power that juxtaposition and proximity can have on a design is fairly clear. The placement of forms or elements in a design often provide crucial information to the viewer. When examining any work, whether it be a painting, an advertisement, or even a label, the viewer innately receives some sort of message from the work. Advertisements and labels, which can be understood as designs, especially depend on their messages to be relayed through juxtaposition and proximity between the elements found within. Therefore, careful attention to the placement of every element or form in a design can emit very powerful and effective messages.
Gombridge, E.H. The Story of Art. New Jersey: Phaidon Press. 1992.