A visit to the Royal Academy of Arts in London – Part 1

Evaluating works seen at the Royal Academy of Arts

~ Alfredo Hlito (1947)
Chromatic Rhythms II ~ Alfredo Hlito (1947)

Alfredo Hlito – Chromatic Rhythms II – 1947

I think this piece of work is quite interesting because it uses lines and shapes like any other abstract piece would however it’s not as complex or chaotic; the lines are all arranged in orderly lines and the rectangles are all the same size, I think that because the lines are all in a specific place on the page, to look like a sheet of lined paper, my eyes follow the lines from top to bottom from left to right as that is how I have been taught to read from a piece of paper. I think when Hlito was creating this piece of art he did so with the intention of controlling how the person looks at it.

The painting was created using oil paints on a canvas and the colours used are quite varied. The background is a muted tone while the main bulk of the art is done using the primary colours, red, blue and green, in addition to yellow and black. I think that the use of minimal colours is easier on the eyes as it allows the viewer to look at and take in each part of the painting without your attention being diverted too soon, by other areas; despite that the yellow has been used in two of the centre rectangles and because it is such a vibrant colour it stands out more than any other colour on the page – meaning your eyes are eager to see it, if it wasn’t looked at immediately.

I believe that the artist made all the lines and rectangles the same size, except the lines in length, to better the viewers ability to look at the different aspects of the image with a broader mind. Nothing is jumping out too loudly and creating a confusion in the mind of the viewer.

It may not be so, but the colliding of some of the colours makes it seem like artist intended to use the graphic device of overlapping. With the red lines and black rectangle in the very top centre portion of the painting the collision of the red lines against the black rectangle makes the lines looks like they are over the top of the black box when they’re actually just close to one another, there are also more examples of this over the page where boxes and lines come close together.

Coming back to a point I made earlier about the art made to look almost like a sheet of lined paper, I think Hlito would have used lined paper as a reference or inspiration, although his inspiration could also have been a sheet of music as the lines could be the lines seen on sheet music and the rectangles could symbolise notes that would’ve been seen on the page.

The order in which I think Hlito would have painted this artwork is that he might have started with the black border followed by creating the straight lines in different colours using either a stencil or another masking method in order to create the very straight and neat lines and edges. I think he then would have painted in the rectangles again using a masking method to get the perfect edges, I believe he would have done the black lines at the same time as the other lines, but the black rectangles might have been done last in order to avoid making a mistake that could not be corrected.

Some thing I might like to try from what I have seen in Hlito’s work is to try to use a minimal range of colours to see the effect that would create on the final outcome of the piece. Also to find a point on my idea that I would like to be the focal point and use a colour such as the yellow used in Hlito’s work, to draw the attention to that area.  

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