Lacuna. A simple word used to describe ‘space’ or a ‘gap’. Visually, lacuna conjure up the notion of a missing presence or of a mist of unknown substance. It’s quite interesting to then discover how lacuna is present in the world of still and moving images. Lacuna is a glue that binds pieces to a cohesive whole.

Daniel Boyd’s artworks is believed to have lacuna presented within them to communicate their meaning to the audience. One of his memorable pieces, ‘Untitled’ 2014 (Fig.1), is an excellent example to illustrate this. ‘Untitled’ is a dotted black and white piece drawing towards Australian-European history. It reflects the past conditions of South Sea Islanders during their period of being in Pentecost Island, Boyd’s home. The idea of having black and white conveys the meaning of this as a strong piece of the past, a memory. It also emphasises the harsh conditions the Islanders experienced in this journey. These messages are formed through noticing what all the white dots form an image of. Through the view of a close-up, these white dots of the artwork just act as an abstract form with no meaning. Slowly through analysing and mapping these dots together, the audience can form and improve on their interpretation of the painting. From a distance, the painting can be quickly distinguished; it is hard to tell that it is made up of small dots. The spaces between the dots, may also be lacuna could be identified as. One abstract spot on the page can be surrounded by several more, that may or may not be the same size to form depth and a transition from one idea to the next. The overall image/concept is what builds up the idea of ‘lacuna’ being invisibly present within the world of still imagery.

Figure 1. Untitled 2014, Daniel Boyd artwork 

A less obvious example of Daniel Boyd’s artworks that utilises dots to form an image is ‘Up in smoke tour’ 2011 (Fig.2). The dots are much larger, therefore harder for the audience to distinguish what the image is. This creates a sense of mysteriousness in comparison to Figure 1 where it is more apparent of what the image was.

Figure 2. Up in smoke tour 2011, Daniel Boyd artwork

In summary, Lacuna seems to be leaning more towards what closure is defined as within the field of visual communication. According to the book of Universal Principles of Design 2010, closure is the “tendency to perceive a set of individual elements as a single, recognizable pattern, rather than multiple, individual element.” (Lidwell, Holden, Butler 2010). With repeated elements, we are able to simplify the complexity of an image into something easy to understand while creating an interesting texture, and aesthetic.

Boyd, D. 2014, Untitled, Painting, Art Gallery of New South Wales.
Boyd, D. 2011, Up in smoke tour, Archival glue on photocopy, Natural History Museum.
Lidwell, W., Holden, K., & Butler, J. 2010, Universal Principles of Design, Rockport Publishers Inc., United States.


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