Negative space


The space in a painting around the objects depicted.<br><br>The areas of an artwork that are NOT the primary subject or object. Negative Space defines the subject by implication. See Positive Space, Notan, Gestalt<br><br> In a painting or sculpture, the areas where there are no forms (the "empty" areas). In a painting, this means the areas which have no forms or objects (sometimes also called the &#39;background&#39; ). In sculpture, this means the "holes" between forms or within a form (e.g., Henry Moore sculptures). Negative space is the other side of the coin of positive space, which is space actually occupied by forms in a painting or sculpture (the figure in a portrait). The notions of positive and negative space were advanced during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, replacing the more traditional notion of a &#39;background&#39; which was subordinate to and separate from the subject image - portrait, still life, etc. Since about 1950, the notions of positive and negative space have also been replaced by much contemporary art, which sees the picture surface not as positive and negative areas, but rather one continuous surface where every area is equally important, and at the same spatial depth. (See also positive space.)<br><br>Empty space in an artwork, a void.That&#39;s the usual definition.To some people, this term suggests unpleasant things. Sometimes when we say "negative" we mean "bad."Both "space" and "emptiness" suggest a lack, a shortage of something. This is unfortunate. The concept of negative space is one that deserves to be highly prized. In Japanese art tradition, what we call negative space is called ma. Relevant in every Japanese art form, from sumi-e to ikebana, ma is considered a particularly valuable sort of space, not seen as negative or empty.Examples:Henry Moore (English, 1898-1986), sculpture, bronze, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Canada. See English art.Dame Barbara Hepworth (English, 1903-1975), Two Figures (Menhirs), 1964, slate, 82.5 x 63.8 x 32.0 cm, Tate Gallery, London. See feminism and feminist art and menhir.