I was once assigned a study in “negative space” in a high school art class. The task was simple: using ink on white paper, draw a bicycle but use the ink to define the bike by inking the negative (non-bike) space on the paper.
It’s a very useful exercise in understanding the importance of form, shape, and perspective, and how much negative space- seemingly nothing- is a means of defining a thing as much as the thing’s tangibility and matter is.
I couldn’t help thinking about this today after a weekend appreciating silences with someone just as much as conversation, of the moments we weren’t touching making me appreciate when we did all the more.
One of the most profound bits of advice on relationships I’ve ever been given is: find someone that can you “be alone” with- even when you want to shut the world out, them being shut in with you doesn’t diminish that refuge space (if anything they enhance it).
I think that’s a superlative ideal space to find, and while I’m not at all trying to diminish the value of shared jokes, conversation, and contact, I couldn’t help today meditating on how much the negative space helps define the form of a thing just as much.