A pattern is the visual arrangement of elements in a distinguishable sequence. It is a design in which shapes, forms, lines and colors are deliberately repeated. The part of a pattern that is repeated is called a motif. A pattern can be regular or irregular, structured or amorphous, traditional or unconventional, organic or synthetic, loose or disciplined, liberal or conservative, democratic or dictatorial and fluid, romantic and blissful or uncouth, cold and pathetic.
An artist may employ color to signify a pattern, repeating a single or select hues throughout a work. He or she might also use texture, a found object, numbers, text, an image or a photograph.
Patterns are important in art because they offer visual clues to an underlying order. When a pattern is discerned, investigated and astutely evaluated in a work of art, it can unlock the mysteries hidden in the work, the prophetic messages housed in the repeated elements, the didactic messages unconsciously or consciously warehoused within the composition. In fact, void of discerning the patterns within a work of art, effective evaluation is impossible and an enduring bond and appreciation of the work remains elusive.