Project 2: Exercise 4: Cutting

This topic appealed to me very much, because after a trip to Jaipur, India in 2012 I brought home photographs of the screens and windows in the harem at the Pink Palace. It intrigued me that these women, who were virtually prisoners, could see out through the various screens dotted about their living space, but outsiders could not see in. There were a variety of visual illusions, some were very basic concrete blocks with shapes punched out. Some were repeat shapes like a honeycomb or intricate layers of fine wood and gold inlays. Some women in the world still live behind the veil, at least when out in public, and I wonder about their view out into a world that cannot see them. I hoped that I could draw on some of these ideas for my samples.

My reading of Kandinsky’s masterpiece reminds me that art is about capturing an ‘inner response’ to the moral and spiritual matters of the past and that this will stir new artistic responses and forms.

harem windows
Harem windows
two layers of circular holes
2.1.a Two layers of circular holes. red/white

2.1.a This sample has regular sized circles cut in the top layer of white paper, underneath red shiny paper has 3 different sized holes cut out of it, giving it an irregular effect of circles and partly revealed circles. I rather like the effect.

p1 ex4 cutting holes 1b
2.1.b Two layers of circular holes red/blue

2.1.b This sample has the red, shiny paper used in the sample above, it is layered over irregular cut circles of a matt flat blue acrylic painted surface with more irregular circles cut out of it. I find the red paper far too dominant.

2.1.c Two layers
2.1.c Three layers

2.1.c Three cut layers are used here. I used the piece of red shiny paper cut with varying sized circles, the layer underneath is a white paper (harem window images), that I enlarged and used a light box to mark out the shapes then cut out with a craft knife. Underneath the second layer are blue oblong cut outs. The red screams for dominance. The boxy shapes underneath look like arrows.

2.1.d Circular and harem window shapes
2.1.d Circular and harem window shapes

2.1.d The harem window shapes become dominant on white cut card, whilst underneath the irregular red circles are more discreet than 2.1.c above. I really like this piece, there are hidden gems or moons here.


2.1.e The harem cut out window shapes on card, are dominant over a blue background. The background is a blue painted acrylic painted paper with cut out oblong shapes. But they are barely noticable. Next I inserted a small geometric printed paper into the cut out shapes. If the image was sharper the oblong shapes would have been more prominent. I must improve my Photoshop skills! It all looks blurred, the detail and effort is lost.

Cell shapes from sketchbook
Cell shapes from sketchbook

2.1.f  and 2.1.g These samples are a mixture of ideas. The top layer is the cut out card of the harem window shapes, underneath is another idea I have been working with. Spot shapes are cut out of paper, leaving a negative space, some spots are collaged back onto the paper. I could have cut out some of the spots making it possible to see through the work. This work was inspired by some sketches in my sketchbook of cell shapes and the work of the artist Yayoi Kusama who works almost entirely in spots and organic forms.

2.1.i notan
Notan shapes on black card
2.1.j Notan shapes on black card

2.1.h; 2.1.i and 2.1j:  These are another set of ideas that have come together. The top layer is the cut out harem window shapes in whie card and the bottom layer is a Japanese notan* shape, using dark and light areas to create a composition in black card. Two Eastern concepts have conjoined. *The nearest translation for notan is ‘dark and light harmony’. I first learned about the idea in Cas Holmes book ‘The Found Object in Textile Art‘. She describes a process using black card folded in half, then cutting away various shapes leaving some of the folded area intact. So that when opened out there is a series of positive and negative spaces. Having a second layer over my notan shape gives it second illusion and the eye tries to make sense of it, due in part to the illusion of a face.

Where do I want to next with this idea? I would like to create a series of images using the harem window shapes with various cut out shapes showing through. I would also like to work in the same way with the spots overlayed with spots, perhaps in balsa wood or lightweight wood. I will have to work out how to create perfect shapes with my husbands tools or perhaps gain his assistance! Although he says he doesnt understand art, he is always more than willing to help me with my projects. Meanwhile I will pursue some of these ideas in heavy card and work out some different colorways.