The previous page discussed the formline and the ovoid shape used in Northwest Coast Indian art. This page continues with other shapes used by Northwest Native artists.
The second most common shape used in Northwest Coast Indian art is the U-form. As the term suggests, they resemble thick letter ‘U’s with ends tapering to sharp points. Like ovoids, U-forms can vary in proportions but they all have the U shape. Larger U-forms are used to contour the body of the subject and as part of the formline for tails or ears. Smaller U-forms are used as space fillers and even feathers of a bird. Multiple U-forms can also be stacked together to represent tails or fins. Below are examples of Northwest Indian art U-forms.
A common variation of the U-form is the split U-form. This is where the U-form is split in the middle with the inner U looking more like a ‘V’ that ends up with a point in the center. Split U-forms can also vary in proportion. They are used in ears, feathers and tails. Northwest Native artists also use split U-forms as space fillers in open spaces. Below are examples of Northwest Coast Indian art split U-forms.
Quite often, U-forms are used in conjunction with ovoids to form the arms, legs, ears and other body parts. The possibilities of what can be portrayed with just this ovoid and U-form shape combination are enormous in the hands of talented Northwest Native artists. Two examples of an ovoid and split U-form combination are below. Notice the one in the right utilizes two split U-forms, one stacked on top of the other.
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