“Perhaps we require that every pattern have balance ( and we do require it) because we’re human. Maybe this need for balance stems from the fact that we have only two legs to stand on We don’t like being “caught off-balance.” Perhpas it’s this need that makes us so quick to notice when anything is off-balance and about to fall. We project into the unstable object the same sort of emotional upset we feel when we stumble and lose our own balance.
Take my cousin Peter: The only time he ever gets upset is when he sees a picture that’s hanging off-balance. That some-what askew picture disturbs him so much that he can’t even carry on a conversation or drink a beer, the two things he loves to do most, until he’s straightened it. Peter is not unusual; many people react the same way.
On the other hand, I read that Picasso used to go around making sure his pictures were hung a little off-plumb. He hated it when the verticals and horizontals paralleled the walls and corners of the room. When pressed for an explanation, Picasso explained that hanging his pictures askew forced people to notice them.