Figure/Ground: Lauren Campanella

Famous rabbit-duck illusion dates back to 1892. (Salisbury, 2015)

All things exist and interact with other things. This is very broad and can mean a lot of things, but when it comes to figure and ground relationships they shape a visual insight. Known as positive and negative space, imagine a Rubik’s Cube with only black and white squares and then mix it up a bit. This is what figure/ground relationships look like in art. The book says “a stable figure/ground relationship exists when a form or figure stands clearly apart from its background.”

There are a few categories within figure and background – stable, reversible and ambiguous. Out of the three, ambiguous is the most complex because it challenges the audience to find a focal point. In this famous image, one look and a person might see a duck. Take another look and you’ll see a rabbit. I chose this image because these types of images have one obvious pattern and another that you have to adjust the eye to catch. It’s only a bunch of black and white lines that make two different images in one. Our brains are responsible for creating visual impressions and choosing what a person sees in images like this one.


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