Depiction and freestanding statuary are two popular kinds of figurative art. Picture-making happens in two dimensions. Statuary happens in three. Perhaps because pictures and statues are so popular, they are sometimes cast as the 2d and 3d figurative art forms. That is a mistake. Statuary is an exemplar of space invading figurative work, while depiction exemplifies space creating work. Invaders can work in two dimensions—silhouettes—and creators can work in three: dioramas. Silhouettes and dioramas are marginal art forms, but we gain much by bringing them into the discussion. In fact, I claim that the distinction between invaders and creators is one of the most significant for understanding the arts of space. It opens up new directions for philosophical investigation, new ways of understanding many figurative practices, it sheds light on non-figurative sculptural practices, the nature of tchotchkes, and much more.
Peabody Hall, Room 115
with support from the Willson Center for Humanities & Arts