On the edge
I’ve only recently come to the conclusion that edges are very important. The edge is where one thing meets another - and the way those two objects relate is part of the story of existing side by side…
Taking care of the edges means paying attention to the detail – and when you do that things look different. For example, trimming the edges of a lawn means the path is more clearly defined. That must be a metaphor for something. As many of us order seasonal gifts online, I’m aware of another example too: the success of Amazon. It seems this is due to their care over the edges – those points where their organisation touches the lives of their customers. It’s an important lesson for every business.
In art, craft and design the edges make or mar the work. Makers consider how a shape in a pattern relates to the edges of another shape or the space surrounding it. Painters, aware of the way the eye lingers on the furthest reaches of an image, touch up the outer edges of the picture so that there is no hint of the canvas behind the paint. One artist who really understands edges is Paul Klee. His retrospective continues at Tate Modern, London until 9 March 2014. Tickets are from £16.50.
A sky line is a very important edge, affecting us spiritually. Tops of big objects - like buildings and large sculptures – can either enhance our experience of the sky, or mess it up for all of us. If your interest is sculpture take a peek at the London Frieze Art Sculpture Park 2013 on YouTube to see what I mean.
I think it was Grayson Perry who commented on the edge of his vision – and what he nearly sees. It’s the edge where something is real enough to be believable – but hazy enough to be filled out with imagination. This is the point where reality blurs and invention can begin.
‘Edginess’ – where a boundary is challenged – is expected in art circles. Some follow this quest and push creativity to the edge of their comfort zone, maybe beyond. Others keep within the boundary they have drawn and toe their own line. In 2013 art crossed cultural boundaries with the first ever Dubai Art Fair.
Venturing to the edge of a cliff, or a bluff, or the balcony around the dome of St Pauls, can be a terrifying experience; particularly when you notice that the rivets on the balustrade are disintegrating and you daren’t lean over; but out on that edge the view is exhilarating. There must be a metaphor there too for some experience that is deeply emotional or spiritual.
What if we all pay careful attention to one sort of edge or another? Perhaps that’s the way for each of us to discover a different perspective, a better technique, or a new direction… Happy 2014.
Is there an 'on the edge' experience you'd like to share?
By BELINDA NAYLOR-STABLES