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Elements of Art: Line


What is a line? In geometry it is described as a straight path of points that goes on forever. Technically, a true geometric line is undefinable as it has only one dimension and has no depth. It is a concept that is physically unseeable.


A line can be a boundary or a barrier, yet it can also be an invitation to cross. On a map it can create harmony and peace as easily as it can cause war. On an eyelid a line can create allure. Lines create language through typography and calligraphy.


Lines wield great power. In art, a mere line can suggest space and form. It can create tension as well as soothe. It can provide perspective and direction. Color that abuts another color forms a line of vibration even when there is no actual line, as famously demonstrated in Joseph Alber’s Homage to the Square series. You can feel this vibrating energy as you view Alice Chen’s Red Apples. With a spare use of line, Jen Maffett suggests a landscape with line in her piece titled Marsh. Alison Brynn Ross twists line into the third dimension with her “wire taxidermy.” Theo Wright, an honored member, now deceased, used line to tell everything.

#97 by Theo Wright


Red Apples by Alice Chen


Marsh by Jen Maffett

Ursa Minor

Ursa Minor by Alison Brynn Ross

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