For this Learning Activity, I had to cut several shapes from black paper in a variety of sizes and place them into a square piece of white paper, one at a time, and move them around to try and find the point where the distinction between figure and ground becomes unclear.
As shown in the pictures above, it doesn’t matter whether the dominant space is black or white. In all of them, it’s easy to differentiate between figure and ground.
The placement of the shape within the space doesn’t seem to have an important role when it comes to separate the figure from the ground.
In the first of these two series, I decided to place the black shapes in an ordered manner. This way, I think the eye can always see what the figure is and what the ground. In the second one, however, I randomly placed the paper cuts. The look of the composition is disorganized and strange. At some point, around picture number six, the piece is too cluttered to distinguish a figure.
In conclusion, I don’t think the distinction between figure and ground is highly affected by the position of the shape, or if the white or black is the dominant part of the space. The most important is the way we place the different elements on the composition and their position respect to each other. We must include enough negative spaces between the positives for the eye to be able to differentiate the shapes and interpret the whole piece.