Negative Spaces


POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

Negative Spaces

By Nandy Ekle

Negative space is a compositional tool used in both two- and three-dimensional work. The simplest way to describe it is as: “space where other things are not present.”

A famous picture that uses negative space effectively is the famous Rubin’s Vase. This is the vase that could also be two faces. The focus of the picture is the vase, but the space around it becomes its own picture.

Writing also has negative spaces. If you write a story about a certain subject, you might actually be writing about several things, simply by the words you don’t use. Suppose I tell you a story about two soldiers in a war who are in the middle of hot combat. On the surface you might see a story of action, courage and stamina. However, what you might not see right away is the story of their families back home, how the man in the red uniform has a wife, three kids, and two parents waiting for him to return.  On the other side of the vase is the other man’s story of an empty car, empty head, empty home.

Read some stories and see if you can find the negative in yours.