The Supremacy of Line




Michael Leyton




Anyone who knows my paintings, my architectural designs, my musical compositions, and my mathematical theorems on shape, knows my obsession with line - how emotional expressiveness changes along a line, how tension can vary between lines, and what happens when lines cross. For example, in my architectural projects, publlished in my book Shape as Memory (Birkhauser), my work has been to decompose the conventional phenomenon of a building mass into a complex system of lines. Again, my musical compositions, particularly my piano sonatas and string quartets, are formed out of cross-tensions within systems of lines rather than simplistic counterpoint.

In 1992 I began a long series of paintings studying the enormous range of expressiveness that can be achieved with lines. It is convenient to decompose the entire series into 3 successive series, which correspond to successive advances I made in the invention of techniques for integrating line. The first series, called The Supremacy of Line is named after one of its culminating paintings - that shown below. For an extensive introduction to my theory of line, which is the basis of this painting, the reader should see my book The Structure of Paintings published in Springer.

The canvases are all fairly large, 5 feet by 4 feet gallery canvases on heavy stretcher bars.







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Copyright Michael Leyton