The author explores Richard Latto's proposition that art com-municates effectively because art-ists manipulate basic features of form that the human perceptual system has evolved to detect. She offers an empirical test of the correlated proposition-that view-ers of art use these same fea-tures to assess art. The author presents the results of an experi-ment in which both artists and non-artists were asked to discern and draw shapes in patterns de-fined by iterating dots. She finds that both groups used color in the case of positive shape and form edge in the case of negative space, thereby confirming that both makers and viewers of art fo-cus on the same kinds of features to recognize and assess form.

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