STYLING the ABSTRACT

Post 622 –by Gautam Shah

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Expression is main intention in fields like literature, art, architecture, fashion and other branches of design. The expression has content that is implicit, subtle or explicit. A Besides content an expression emerges from a mix medium and technique. The content as inspiration or realization depends on the intensity of personal relevance and comes in from many different fields. The medium and technique derive from many different geographies and eras.

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View of Gopuram (Gate Tower) Sri Mariamman Temple  Singapore > Wikipedia image by AngMoKio

 The expression is intentionally made devoid of any content. But, one is never satisfied with the abstraction, and to achieve a better result it is tried over and over again. It results into an ‘abstract style’. The abstract style in absence of the content is strongly rooted in the medium and technique. Somewhere the ‘abstract’ begins to acquire a metaphoric matter.

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Explicit expression TWA flight centre JFK Airport NYC > Wikipedia Flickr image by pheezy

‘Style is a characteristic or group of characteristics that we can identify as constant, recurring, or tenacious.’ + ‘Artistic style is the sum of constant, recurring or coherent traits identified with a certain individual or group.’ -Living With Art, Rita Gilbert

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Capriccio Palasttreppe > ART By Bernardo Bellotto 1721-1780

Such metaphoric content is matured by someone, but is invigorated by others in different time and space. And if their content, medium and techniques are different then what is that, is reestablished ? Style or the Manner ? If style is holistic concept consisting of several characteristics, accepted and practised coherently by several persons across different fields of expressions, than Manner is a set of selected components that substantively codifies the ‘stylized expression’. Styles are creations that are distanced in locations and occasions, but with some re-collective connection. A stylized expression may not have cogency to the original. It is the mental image or glory that becomes the manner.

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Dragon gate at Guell Pavilions by Gaudi

Manners or ‘stylistic elements’ often reflect a period, a socio-political-economic environment. The scrutiny of the expressed forms into lines or shapes, frontal or angular views, foreground or background, the tempo, sensorial aberrations, colour or tonal gradations, etc. is imprecise. So manner criticism relies more on discreet terms to connote restrained, evasive reasonableness. A ‘manner’ is full of cramped codes, with silly and arbitrary rules.

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Atlantis supporting the balcony Tyszkiewicz-Potocki palace Warsaw > Wikipedia image by Bartosz MORAG

‘Mannerism, derived from the Italian maniera (manner) is a specific phase of the general Renaissance style, but manner is used very widely.’ Manner derives from Anglo-French manere, > Old French maniere > from Vulgar Latin *manaria (Spanish-manera, Portuguese-maneira, Italian-maniera, Dutch-manier, German-manier, Swedish-maner), > from fem. of Latin manuarius (belonging to the hand), from manus ‘hand’.

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Wassily Chair (Model 3B) designed by Marcel Breuer in 1925-26 at Bauhaus > Wikipedia image by Lorkan (Flickr)

 Style and Manner both need, time and process to spread and sink into the society. The process of spread was accelerated manifold during the industrial age, due to faster means of travel and communications. The styles and manners, however, were recognized, and equally rapidly forgotten. These though incarnated themselves in other fields.

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Wall mural on singers of seventies > Wikipedia image by Alain Bertrand

Cubism remained with painting, sculpture and architecture and has not found expression elsewhere. Deconstructivism of literature by Derrida did not come to architecture till means of realization like CAD tools were available. Sensualism, psychedelic arts and make-believe in the cinema and graphics, are expressions still tied to passage of time. Perhaps some different techniques of expression and realization are due. The concept of minimalism and sustainability may converge, and manifest as architecture of thinness and gravity defying stances. Compared with this literature is protuberant, still relying on elaboration and on metaphor.

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Luxor temple Egypt > Cartouches for Ramesses II > Wikipedia image by Asta

In fields like art, sculpture, architecture, fashion and other branches of design, which rely on expression through use of material and technology, changes in physical sciences are going to be the driving forces. In other fields of expressions like literature, performing arts, communications, the changes in behavioural and biological sciences will re-define the perception mechanism of the content.

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Story telling > ART by Albrecht Anker 1884

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