The Concept of Space in Twentieth Century Art



"But, after all, the aim of art is to create space - space that is not compromised by decoration or illustration, space within which the subjects of painting can live."

-Frank Stella



A variety of nonlinear developments expanded the concept of space in twentieth century art. This paper analyzes some of the artistic experimentation. Representation and abstraction are discussed, giving particular attention to: (1) dimensional concepts, (2) surface depth and optical impressions, and (3) the deconstruction of visual space.




Christopher W. Tyler (

Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute, San Francisco, California


Amy Ione (

Berkeley, California



Tyler, C. and Ione, A. (in press) The Concept of Space in Twentieth Century Art. In B. E. Rogowitz & T. N. Pappas (Eds.), Human Vision and Electronic Imaging: Proceedings of Photonics West, (in press). Technical Conference sponsored by The International Society for Optical Engineering (SPIE) and the Society for Imaging Science and Technology (IS&T). San Jose, California, January 2001.