Ever since I can remember, I've been attracted to anything having to do with circles. When strolling through my Art News magazine, I came across this advertisement for Hadieh Shafie's show entitled The Sweet Turning of the Page. "12245 pages" was created from actual rolls of paper! Its not 2-Dimensional by any means. When I looked up her website, I was blow away by the beauty of these simple rolls of colorful paper; my iPhone did not do the artwork justice.
"A constant element of my work has been the significance of process, repetition and time. In works comprised of paper scrolls, individual strips of paper have been marked with hand-written and printed Farsi (Persian language) text. Each strip is then tightly rolled to create a core, around which successive strips are added. During the repetitive process of adding paper strips to create individual rolls, text and symbols are sometimes revealed and often hidden within the concentric rings of the finished object. The time it takes to make each work can vary and the time spent in writing and rolling the strips of paper is an important part of the artistic process and a performative aspect of the making of this work. The title of each piece documents the number of individual strips of paper that complete the work. Concentric forms of text and material take direct inspiration from the Sama dance of the whirling dervishes and the act of turning-on-axis in search of ascendance through forgetting the body. Rumi’s poetry and the search for the dervish within are at the core of my own search and rebellion, with the resulting work as the physical expression of my awe." -Hadieh Shafie, Artist Statement
When thinking of circles, my mind goes to Chuck Close, of course.
A once realistic painter, Close became paralyzed and was forced to quit his large-scale, photo-realistic portraits and move to a more abstract way of working. His newest portraits are about the same size, but are now comprised of circles. Circles of beautiful colors which lie within a grid. He paints layer after layer until each square is the perfect combination of color.
Then, there's Gustav Klimt. (1862-1918)
He often portrayed figures with excessive amounts of colors and patterns (many times circles).
a portion of Water Snakes (1907)
He sometimes used gold, a mode of ornamentation borrowed from Egyptians and Mycenaean art. Cultures with much artistic history, and symbolism.
Adele Bloch-Bauer (1907)
This is just the beginning of possible research that can be done about the use of circles used throughout the ages in art. To name just a few, circles have been known to signify: Unity. Life. Cycles. Halos. Love. Completion. Fortune. Prayer. Meditation. Religion.... and those beautiful sand Mandalas created by the Tibetan Monks:
Circles will forever be used in art. Will the artist use them for a deep cosmic reason? Or, perhaps, they are just beautiful to look at, especially when they are in multiple colors and sizes. Either way... I like 'em.