E4 Repetition, Variation & Rhythm

Repetition and variation are both independent principles that are frequently combined with engaging visual affects, and often towards the development or illumination of a story or narrative.

Repeating something is one thing, but aside from any need to create unity, what is there about that thing or item that makes it worth repeating? Are we talking about repeating a precise shape or maybe “being influenced” by a shape in general? Is this thing a texture, a movement, a color, a palette of colors, a meandering pattern?

Aside from making life in general interesting, variety can also introduce creatives into unexpected and engaging paths. Below are some examples: A cloud covers the base of Mt. Fuji and its unique shape gets repeated and varied into a pattern of marshy grass clusters; ■  A Cy Twombly-inspired drawing is populated by arcs, loops, and straight lines – repeated and varied by widths, textures and tones; ■  Marge, Not the Neighbors Again features a cluster of onlookers whose individual shapes are somewhat similar to exclamation marks – even down to their comparable sizes. ■ Repetition unifies this box of donuts while variety colorizes an otherwise empty feast.

Repetition & Variation 1: Change, unity and the heart of rhythm

Yoshiwara/Fuji Marsh by Utagawa Hiroshige (1855, Chicago Institute of Art)








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