Figure/Ground: Joshua Murphy

Rubin’s vase By Edgar Rubin – An illusion created using figure-ground. This image was found on Wikipedia.

The image that I have chosen to represent the ambiguity of figure/ground is of a Rubin’s vase. This image is a more famous creation by Edgar Rubin in the early 1900’s. When looking at the the image you can see two different images depending on how you look at it. We had a reading on figure/ground and what I took away from it is that the background (ground) is what causes the form to stand out. The figure is the white part of the image due to it being surrounded by the black background which acts as the ground. the faces are a very prominent part of the image but I feel that the white vase is the figure the faces are built off of. The Rubin’s vase faces and vase could be seen as the figure depending on what each individuals eyes are drawn to first. When first looking at the image you can see two side profiles of faces, but upon further viewing you can notice a vase in the center of the images caused by the the outline of the faces. The image its self is open to interpretation of if it is an image of a vase or of two face profiles, that is the optical illusion aspect of the piece. The image of the Rubin’s vase could serve an ornamental purpose. The ornamental purpose could come from how decorative the piece is, it calls for higher thinking on the image. With how the image could be seen in different ways gives it some what of a practical purpose as well. If this image was to be in someones home then it could act as a conversation starter or a point of interest in the home. Over all I feel that the Rubin’s vase serves as a great example of figure and ground since it is very obvious and is well known for its ambiguity. The piece leaves its meaning and imagery up to the viewer to decide.

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