Saturday, June 1, 2013

Mimmalism in Art

Digital Diary – Minimalism

The concept of minimalism was a response to abstract expressionism, which was a dominant art form for quite some time. The object of minimalist art was to focus the attention of the viewer onto the object, and the minimalist artists also strove for complete simplicity in their work.

The leading Minimalist artists were Frank Stella, Robert Morris and Carl Andre. Sculpting was a major interest of the minimalists, and they blurred the lines between printing and sculpting. This was very much what they aimed to do. It was also a reaction against the excesses of abstract expressionism. The minimalists were not interested in self expressionism or of showing raw emotion in their art. They strove to remove metaphors or references of any kind from their paintings/sculptures. They labelled themselves as the “Masters of Less”.

Their chosen mediums were usually flat surface colours, industrial materials and flat finishes. Often they would work in a series of ‘repititions.’

Frank Stella, born in 1936 in Malden, Massachussetts, has been considered a major American artist for almost fifty years, becoming in 1970, the youngest artist ever to have a career retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. He is best known for the monochromatic pinstriped paintings that first brought him to prominence, which when seen in person have a very moving, vulnerable quality and (a few years later) for the colour field paintings on odd shaped canvasses. He also help to bring printmaking to the fore as an art form in the late 1960s, and his work in the 1980s included paintings stuck on objects such as freestanding metal pieces. This was in high contrast with his very early minimalist works.

Stella’s Black paintings series consists of parallel black stripes. These were exactly painted, and the medium used was house paint.

The painting pictured above is part of Stella’s Black series paintings. It is painted with house paint. It is just one of a series. I like it for its directness, its three dimensional feel, its painful exactness. It obviously took time to paint. There is nothing but order. Everything else is stripped back. When I look at this work, I think bare minimum, neatness, geometry.

"I like real art. It's difficult to define 'real' but it is the best word for describing what I like to get out of art and what the best art has. It has the ability to convince you that it's present - that it's there. You could say it's authentic... but real is actually a better word, broad as it may be."

The above is a quote from Frank Stella, which I feel defines his work well.

Stella’s main intention was to define and outline the flatness of the surface, to draw attention to this.

 Then Came a Dog and Bit the Cat, 1984


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