Day 4 of #100daysofemdash is a study of another one of my favourite paintings which again is, in my mind, also about typography.
This picture is Meem One (1967) by Anwar Jalal Shemza, an artist I discovered at an exhibition at the Tate last year and have had an ongoing obsession with ever since.
Shemza was very influenced by Paul Klee, which was immediately apparent to me when I walked into the gallery, so I was naturally totally captivated.
The Meem series is about repeating the calligraphic form of the letter M (called meem) in Urdu. So I like it because as far as I’m concerned it is a typographic composition.
Okay, so I found this composition really difficult to pick apart. An earlier workout sketch by Shemza seems to be working with a 1/7 ratio, and the circles seem to conform primarily to factors of 12. An earlier painting, Meem, has 13 circles.
But how this piece is put together, I think, is the field is divided first by the vertical lines. there is a strong central line that connects with the largest circle, which is shown in the conventional direction
Another factor that could be going on here is that Urdu is written right to left, but if that played into how this particular picture was composed, I can’t say if that’s important or not in his thinking. I would assume so. If I was to make a picture of western letters, the left-right bias would surely influence how the elements fell.
Anyway, a lot here for me to think about today… where I would take these ideas… mmmmmm.