Wednesday, 25 February 2015

The Sum of the Parts.

Michael Whynot. Figure study. Red chalk.

Michael Whynot. Foot study. Red chalk.

Michael Whynot. Hand study. Red chalk.

Aristotle wrote that: "The whole is greater than the sum of its parts." And, while this is certainly true of the human form, where the inherent flow of gesture from one body part to the next can create a grace and emotional connection more profound than the summation of the individual pieces, I would argue that the individual forms, when studied in isolation, can convey a grace and beauty all their own.

There is no question of the wondrous flow of gesture through the legs, hips and torso above, yet, if you study the arm or the leg and the attached hand or foot, taken in isolation, you will find the same ebb and flow through these parts as well.

The organic form is a wonder of engineering, evolution, or creation (whichever term you prefer). It has captivated our souls and our art since we first made marks upon the walls of dimly lit caves and it continues to captivate us today. The fact that such continuity of form, that flowing gesture of grace, is evident no matter how small a piece of the whole we observe, speaks to the profound truth of Aristotle's quote. The whole is, indeed, greater than the sum of its parts, which is greater than the sum of its parts, which is greater than the sum of its parts… ad infinitum.

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