9.01_ Advancing/Receding

Monet sunset

Advancing/Receding qualities add depth and feed the illusion of three-dimension.

Advancing/Receding qualities add depth and feed the perception of three-dimension. There exists a variety of modes for expressing this quality, including fore-, middle- and background delineation; relative size and location; warm or bright colors advancing and cool or dull colors receding; active things advancing and passive things receding; physical perspective; overlapping; volume vs. flatness; and relative importance.


Beginning in the first image, top row, ■ Claude Monet’s rapidly visualized sunset reinforces the notion that warm and brighter colors advance while cooler and muted colors recede (Sunset on the Seine at Lavacourt, in Winter, 1880, CC0 Paris Musées/Musée des Beaux-Arts de la Ville de Paris, Petit Palais). ■ PAULA 2007 Annual Report’s spread featured advancing and receding typography through color variations. ■ Decarbonize L.A. poster uses a faded burst behind the key figure adding an inference of mystical powers. The caped luchero dominates the layout while the clouds in their diminishing widths lead the viewer towards the distant horizon. ■ DP101 Workshop’s poster expresses advancement by overlapping white text partially over a white background, which then introduces a figure/ground reversal whereby the white type acts as both foreground and background. ■ In Donuts, Aisle 5 the juxtaposition of a flat object against a three dimensional box is managed in a way to give the appearance of a sudden “dropping off”. ■ Learning From Twombly depicts smears, shapes and lines which tend to blur, leaving the harder-edged content more precise and as a result, more prominent.

Advancing & Receding 1: Depth and the illusion of three-dimensional space

Now it’s your turn! Create an applied example of advancing and receding through the vehicle of your choosing: photography, painting, drawing, digital tools, mixed media, etc. It could be something you’ve already created, just newly realized!

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