Rectangles and Squares


Why do I use rectangles? Even if I try to stray, I always revert back to the geometric shapes of squares and rectangles. What does it mean? There must be a subconscious reason as to why I do – because everything has a reason, right?


Shapes are thing that you’re brought up with. You learn what the shapes are when you’re young. They communicate different messages to the audience/viewer but what do they really mean? What are they used for? They can be used for a number of things from the abstract outlook to the more practical outlook. They can be used to organize information; some shapes may symbolise different ideas/information. They can convey emotions or moods or to lead the eye from one thing to another.


But what about rectangles/squares? That’s what I always use in my work. But why? Geometric shapes have regularity which suggests organization and efficiency. This idea of things being put in their place or where they belong and everything should be done when it should be done. Everything should be organised and have a plan. The rectangle/square suggests structure and further order due to the symmetrical aspects. This basically describes how I live… How I have to have everything planned out and organised and if it doesn’t work I sometimes cannot cope. So subconsciously, I guess this has been portrayed in my work.


The way I make work is I do not plan, funnily enough. Within my practice this is the only time that I don’t necessarily have a concrete plan of what is going to happen or what I am going to create. I just make. I make whatever comes to me and whatever I am feeling that day. It is then that I will stop, reflect and think about what I have created and why. Almost like working backwards. I’m using the rectangles subconsciously which means subconsciously there is perhaps an order to my work? Or perhaps it is leaving a subtle hint to the audience that there is clear organization, planning and thought that has gone into the work created. But maybe the work doesn’t seem organised because there’s so much of it and there’s so much of it that perhaps it looks messy? Sometimes I display my work overlapping and there’s all these layers so perhaps this demonstrates the idea of organisation becoming a problem? Which in some cases it can? With my OCD I have to have everything planned down to the T and sometimes if it doesn’t go to plan, it can cause so much disruption. I automatically become stressed and I can’t see any other way around the solution because its only my plan that would work – nothing else.


Squares and rectangles are described as stable. They are familiar and trusted shapes, they are known from a young age and they aren’t going to suddenly change. They suggest honesty. They have right angles representing order, rationality and formality. Rectangles are the most common shape that we encounter from our day to day lives. We may not notice them all the time but they implant in to our brain. The majority of text that we read is set in rectangles and/or squares. Our laptops and phones are rectangle. Our notebooks are often rectangle. Our walls and houses are mostly rectangle or square as we need the order to keep them standing. Is it the same with my work? I need the order and organisation of the geometric to keep order within my practice or even within my life?



Squares and rectangles suggest conformity, peacefulness, solidity and security. This idea of there being a certain unspoken authority that a square or rectangle may have. A powerful entity that can influence or alter people’s thoughts? Their familiarity and stability might seem boring because they are so common but it comes with an unexpected twist that they can perhaps imply power over the work.



In conclusion, I will continue to use these shapes within my work. I believe that there is a certain authority and/or powerfulness to the shapes, especially considering I am hoping to be working on such a big scale. Although it may seem typical or out of ease that I am having my works in these shapes – it creates an unspoken element that marries into my subject matter. This idea of organisation and repetition, even though it may not seem like it because one can sometimes be so manic, can cause both disruption and pleasure. The pleasure of being organised and everything going to plan but then the disruption when something does not go the way that one had planned. But with both my practice and with general life, things can always alternate between both good and bad.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s