Composition in art

The term ‘composition’ has often been used in art because it is considered to be one of the most unique techniques of any artist. Basically, composition of objects in the subject matter is an important element in any artwork because it determines the balance of the work. Some artist even has their ‘signature’ in the way the objects are composed in their artwork.

In general, composition is very much like completing a jigsaw puzzle where the artist needs to put all the pieces together to form a full image. If the pieces are placed accurately, the image would be very structured and hence it will determine the aesthetical traits of the artwork. If the objects are badly composed, then it will be an artwork which will be disconcerted and would look strange somehow. So basically, composition is the arrangement of elements of the artwork which makes the image interesting. This would be the very element which will hold the attention of the viewer or eliminates it.

Creating an artwork with good composition is very much like a photographer who places the first 2 fingers of both the hands on a scene before actually taking the photograph. This is to ensure that the balance is appropriate where there are not too much empty spaces while the objects are placed accordingly to tell the story. Fine artists would be the best people who are known to have such skills where they are able to put objects together before painting them. Still life paintings are most closely associated with composition in art.

The Malaysian art scene has had countless artists who are known to have their own ‘signature’ in their artwork through their speciality in composition of the objects. One such artist is Ahmad Shukri who has used chickens’ in his artwork. Shukri’s paintings have often depicted chickens in the subject matter where he applied the animals in different behaviour and patterns often integrated within the colour play that Shukri is so fond of. In his ‘Rooster Berlari’ painting, the composition of roosters and leaves intertwine so well with the colours that he used that there are basically no empty spaces as colours were used to promote the surroundings.

The whole idea of composition is to create an artwork which is pleasing to the eyes. This is because if an object is wrongly composed, it would create an annoying distraction which is what the artist would not want. The difference between artists and photographers here is that the former is able to ‘create’ the scene as to their liking and what they deemed to be balanced while the latter is confined to what they see in the scene and how they can capture them through the camera. Ultimately, the artist is subjected to involve all the surrounding elements that include the backdrop, the lighting, the props and of course the subject matter that they want to compose. Composition is a skill that is cultivated through years of practice while it also requires a reasonable amount of creativity from the artist.

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