Color and Form: Conform or Transform?

  • Lois Swirnoff
Part of the Design Science Collection book series (DSC)


Ambiguity seems to be the result of highly visible and well-articulated visual patterns, arising from the distribution of surface color. Is this true in nature? Do patterns in nature conform to and define organisms, or do they confuse the eye by transforming essential volume beneath the surface? I think the answer is, they do both visual operations. In subtle ways and many instances, patterned color conforms and transforms simultaneously.


Natural Color Surface Color Cast Shadow Dimensional Color Brilliant Color 
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  1. 57.
    Leonardo considered the mastery of chiaro e scuro to be “the source of excel- lence in painting,” and he predicted that “its science would engender great dis- course.” Pedretti, commentary on Richter, “The Literary Works of Leonardo da Vinci.”Google Scholar

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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lois Swirnoff
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Art, Design, and Art HistoryUniversity of California at Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA

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