In life, as in art, the beautiful moves in curves.~Edward G. Bulwer-Lytton
Tina’s Lens Artists Photo Challenge #28 is all about “Curves.” Ok, Tina. It’s time for me to rise to the challenge.
I think it’s safe to say that nature loves curves. Have you ever seen a perfectly straight shoreline? Or a tree? Humankind, in contrast, tries to tame nature by insisting that curves can be straightened and lines can bisect each other at right angles. This interplay between the straight and curved line is a creative motif which is often very beautiful. This week, I’ll focus on this motif in architecture and nature.
It stands by itself as one of the indisputable masterpieces of human creativity, not only in the 20th century but in the history of humankind.~ Expert evaluation report to the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, 2007.
When the Danish architect Jørn Utzon envisioned the Sydney Opera House over 50 years ago, he pushed the boundaries of engineering and modernist design. Today, this building is Australia’s number one tourist destination, visited by 8.2 million people per year.
I wondered if this iconic landmark would seem more ordinary to me, given that several decades had passed since our last visit. My answer is a definitive “no.” The interplay of curves and straight lines is still dramatic and stunning even as the structure shows some signs of wear and aging. As I wandered around the building, taking dozens of shots of the soaring architecture, my mood shifted. I was uplifted–visually and emotionally.
Here are two views from the walkway and from the harbor ferry.
A few days ago, we stopped for a coffee at the Cafe e Torta in the Royal Arcade in Melbourne. While I sipped my coffee, I stared overhead at the delicately curved wrought iron supports and the arched windows and ceiling. The contrast between the straight and curved lines is a repeated motif, which is very striking. It turns out that the Royal Arcade was the first of many arcades constructed in Melbourne. Designed in the Victorian style, it opened in 1870. (P.S. The cappucchino was good too.)
It is not the right angle that attracts me, nor the straight line, hard and inflexible, created by man. What attracts me is the free and sensual curve – the curve that I find in the mountains of my country, in the sinuous course of its rivers, in the body of the beloved woman.~Oscar Niemeyer
I’ve been astounded by the flora and fauna here in Australia. The Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne is an urban oasis and nature sanctuary. I was captivated by the Banksia Honey Pot shrub. Its flower is a striking shade of orange and has wiry, curved petals. No wonder why it attracts so many bees.
The Sacred Lotus is not native to Australia, but it blooms in profusion by the Central Lake within the botanic gardens. I was glad we stopped for lunch at the cafe nearby, giving us a chance to view the lake for a while.
My life is one long curve, full of turning points.~Pierre Trudeau
Sometimes I think the story of our civilizations (and even some long term relationships) is the battle between orderly, rational straight line thinking and the free-form wildness and unpredictability of the curved line.
I must confess that I’m still a lover of the orderly and predictable straight line. (At times, I have been “caught” straightening my dinner plate so that it lines up with the edge of the table.) But more and more I appreciate the beauty, wildness and unpredictability of the curved line. Above all, I like the interplay between the two. This flexible mindset also allows me to deal better with life’s curveballs–which hit us unexpectedly at various points in our lives. They are inevitable. No one can escape them. How we respond to them is a measure of our true grit and character. Some of us “ride” the curves and bumps and others resist them. I guess you can say I am learning how to stand on my metaphorical surfboard and go with the flow of the waves. It takes a lifetime, doesn’t it?
A special thanks to Tina, for giving us the chance to highlight the beauty of the curved line. Stay tuned next week, when it’s my turn to post challenge #29.
In closing, I hope this week brings you plenty of light and inspiration no matter where you are in this wild, often crazy, and wonderful world!