Circle and Square by William Underhill

On Saturday, April 15, I attended the exhibition Circle and Square at the Cohen Gallery in Alfred, New York.       

The exhibition consisted of cast bronze, aluminum, and iron vessels made by William Underhill. Underhill is particularly taken with the vessel, as seen through his work here. His works have ranged from traditional vessels with patterned and textures surfaces to very geometric forms. The work on display here spanned from the 1960’s to Underhill’s contemporary work.

In the works that were on display, I was especially taken by those with very detailed or complex texture. Two prim examples of this are Underhill’s works “Coral Pattern Irregular Rim” and “Frog Prince.” “Coral Pattern Irregular Rim” is a bronze cast done in 2003. The texture is obviously based on coral formations, hence the name. Despite this, the vessel looks like the surface of the human brain. This texture draws the viewer in, becoming lost in the twists and turns of the vessel. The pattern on “Frog Prince” is similar. Also a bronze cast, “Frog Prince” was cast in 1982. The intriguing aspect of this piece is the several patterns that stack on top of one another to make interesting textures. Studying each pattern and relation to the other shapes can envelop a viewer for quite a long time.

When walking through the gallery, I noticed that the texture is what made viewers stop a study a piece. The more geometric works were looked at briefly by most gallery patrons, but the vessels with detailed textures were the ones that people tended to mill over longer. This made me realize why texture and depth used in web design are emphasized in Interactive Design. If a site has texture, the visitor to the site will stay interested and engaged. This will make sure that won’t become bored looking at the site and leave. There is a difference in the type of texture used in Underhill’s work and what to use in a website. The texture for a web design should be less complicated than what is in this gallery. The user should be engaged, but not distracted by the depth used on the website.

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