Mutual embedding

(deep interlock and ambiguity)

This is a version of the property called [[ deep interlock]]. But, in the sphere of color it is more fundamental, and more necessary, than in the purely geometric cases which [[deep interlock ]] describes.

In the 17th-century Persian garden carpet shown opposite, each major area, whatever its main color, contains within it small pieces of the other colors that lie in the areas around it. The effect is that each area is tied, subtly, by these internal cross-references, to areas of color which surround it.

Imagine, if you like, that you have a color composition half worked out. You struggle towards making more light in the picture. You seek harmonies which tie things together more. At this stage, you will often find that the thing you have to do to make more light in the picture is, in effect, a process in which you put one color inside another. You have red and blue, say. You want them to shine. You put some blue — small flecks of blue — inside the red. And you put small dots of red somewhere inside the blue. Slowly, as you do it, the shine of the light increases.

Often, as I get into the later stages of a painting, I find that I have to create additional connections between fields of different colors. For example, I paint a blue bowl of fruit on a black background. The light shines. But everything is a bit too stark, so I have to put spots of purple and blue into the black. Their presence in the black then creates additional connections between the inside and the outside.

In general, if I have two colors next to each other, A, and B, then I can create a connection by putting a little bit of A inside B, and a little bit of B inside A. Immediately a connection is formed, and the field becomes more unified.

Suppose we have a green and a red near each other, and they have been chosen to produce a light. Still, there may be some way in which the boundary between the two creates a separation: the overall field is too severely divided into a red field and a green field. To make a better unity in the field, we put little bits of red in the green, and little bits of green in the red. As we do it, the color melts and unifies. Whatever unity can be created by the way that colors create light is then supplemented by a process which unifies and connects the space.

It is possible to generalize this phenomenon beyond color. We may say that each major entity in a living structure must contain references (shapes, structures, colors, motifs, reflections) of the other major elements, so that each element is somehow also within the other elements.

(Pages 192-195)

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