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Three fingers and white gloves – conventions and representation of cartoon morphology

 

Three fingers and white gloves – conventions and representation of cartoon morphology

 

Conventional caricature can be described as a systematic selection and exaggeration of certain features to the exclusion of others. Also a process of distillation and simplification, caricature is most effective and perhaps most familiar in visual culture when represented as cartoon line. Though commonly associated with portraiture caricature is also a system of representation that may be applied not only to the face (human or animal) but also the figure the inanimate object or even landscape.

 

The appeal and effectiveness of the cartoon caricature has been commonly discussed in two ways, one in terms of the representation of ‘type’ (the averaging of all like things to create a stylised standard) and secondly the minimalist nature of its representation, as a linear short hand, or abbreviated reproduction of a veridical source. Both of these qualities have been explained and explored in divergent ways within fields ranging from neuroscience, psychology, art history and of course those who create the images - visual artists.

 

Using a very specific example – the caricatured cartoon hand, this paper will trace the cultural and perceptual morphology of a particular cartoon representation via the perspectives of varying and sometimes conflicting fields of research (science, psychology, art history art practice) concluding with examples of my own studio experiments as a continued endeavor to understand the possibilities of these variant of points of view.

 

As an artist practitioner I am not interested in definitive conclusions to the history, psychology or science of perception and drawing, but more how these fields of research may intersect, conflict or compliment the way we practice and think about drawing and invigorate the use of caricature and cartoon minimalism within contemporary art practice.

 

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