Homage to the Square (Wave)

The Appealing Square

There’s something about the square, the elegant geometric shape with four equal sides and four equal angles, that has always fascinated artists as a simple but challenging format for two dimensional works of art.

Joseph Albers (1888 – 1976), a German-born, American abstract painter and educator, is probably the one artist whose body of work is most commonly associated with the square. Starting in 1949, Albers devoted decades to exploring the interaction of solid planes of color and the optical effects of color in his series of square paintings, entitled, Homage to the Square. A professor of art at Yale University from 1950 – 1958, Albers published a book in 1963 entitled, Interaction of Color, which documented his ground-breaking theory of color. Joseph Albers completed hundreds of Homage to the Square paintings and prints in his lifetime.

 Joseph Albers, Homage to the Square, 1965


Joseph Albers, Homage to the Square, 1965

The Square Wave

Elena and I have long been ‘into’ the square format.  In 2010, we worked separately but concurrently on a large series of square, mixed media paintings on paper that we called Sea Squares.  The give and take of completing these 18″ x 18″ paintings as we sat side by side was most likely the determining experience that propelled us to collaborate on future projects and, ultimately, on The Wave.

 Red Rocks by Elena Kalman, Mixed Media on Paper, 2010 Courtesy of Elena Kalman


“Red Rocks” by Elena Kalman, Mixed Media on Paper, 18″ x 18,” 2010
©Elena Kalman

 Sea Square by Susan Hoffman Fishman, 2008 ©Susan Hoffman Fishman


“Sand and Waves” by Susan Hoffman Fishman, Mixed Media on Paper, 18″ x 18,” 2010
©Susan Hoffman Fishman

It was only a matter of time before we would eventually experiment with using the square format in some way with The Wave. The fact that the whole concept of a square wave is an oxymoron was all the more appealing to us. What is the best way to confine the undulating pieces of The Wave within a rigid geometric square so that the final image actually reads square wave? Here are a few samples of what we came up with.


“Blue Square Wave”
Photograph courtesy of Susan Hoffman Fishman

 Square Wave Courtesy of Susan Hoffman Fishman


“2 Square Waves”
Photograph courtesy of Susan Hoffman Fishman

 "Square Wave Corners" Courtesy of Susan Hoffman Fishman


“Square Wave Corners”
Photograph courtesy of Susan Hoffman Fishman

 Blue Square Wave and Colored Square Wave Courtesy of Susan Hoffman Fishman


“Blue Square Wave and Multi-Colored Square Wave”
Photograph courtesy of Susan Hoffman Fishman

 'Multi-Colored Square Wave" Courtesy of Susan Hoffman Fishman


‘Multi-Colored Square Wave”
Photograph courtesy of Susan Hoffman Fishman

 

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