Re: Similarity?

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Posted by Michael Wendorf on January 17, 1999 at 21:42:19:

In Reply to: Re: Similarity? posted by Steve Price on January 17, 1999 at 13:06:46:

: Dear Yon (and Everyone Else),

: I have no idea why, but the image of the Kaitag comes up very much darker and with much less contrast between colors than the original or the images from which it is derived. As a result, the small scale motifs are not very obvious, and your reaction to them is exactly what I feared it would be.

: Try this, and see if it helps. Pay attention to the small motifs in the Kaitag. Perhaps the easiest one to see is in gold, just to the left of the outermost of the big ovals. There are many others throughout the piece ouside the ovals; the red ones are especially hard to recognize. Next, look at the small motifs in the Matisse print. Do you see the striking similarities in style of drawing that I think I see? If you go to the Matisse link, you'll find a collection of Matisse prints from his "Jazz" portfolio, all done in this style. These were done fairly late in his life, and appear to be of a quite different genre than most of what preceded it.

: I'm not suggesting any sort of visual trickery, just tha the low contrast and dark colors that come out in the images make it hard to see the minor motifs.

: Regards,

: Steve Price

Dear Steve:
I also am unable to clearly see any especially striking similarities, though I understand your point.
I have been struck with similar motifs appearing in weavings from very different eras and places, even continents and hemispheres. I think perhaps what is at play are the structural imperatives of any fabric and a finite number of ways to interpret those imperatives. It is interesting here, if in fact the similarities exist, that they appear in different media. Matisse did not have to deal with the same issues that the embroidery maker did, or maybe they are not that different. Perhaps a more ripe topic of discussion would be to compare early South American weavings with later middle eastern or central asian weavings where a weaver had to deal with issues of warp and weft.
One other point, it is my understanding that many impressionist painters were deeply moved by so-called primitive sculpture, mostly masks and other carvings, and the forms of that work. There may be a resonance in the work of Matisse of some of these themes that you are picking up on.

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