Minimalism as an art style appeared in New York in 1960s and can be described with the maximum simplicity in depicting objects. First artists who started working in this style were those who were disappointed in Action Painting — a part of Abstract Expressionism. This style is also often called ABC art or literalist art.
Key characteristics of Minimalism
The main idea of Minimalism is that work of art shouldn’t refer to anything but to itself while other art styles were thought to be too individual. Artworks should be free from any extra visual associations, that’s why Minimalists used the simplest forms, lines and geometrical figures.
Minimalism artists used hard-edge painting — a mini-movement in American art that is characterized by painting geometrical objects with a help of bright colours. Paintings are very impersonal and made with an economy of expression. The main objects of canvases are shapes, lines and structure of the painting in general, the second role play colours, and emotions and feelings are not important for Minimalists.
Minimalistic paintings can be easily recognized by economy of means, strict shapes and predominance of cold colours or even just one colour. The idea of Minimalists was to reject anything personal that an artists can put into his or her artwork and focus on purely visual elements themselves. This approach gives to the viewer a wide range of possible interpretations and ability to listen to her or his feelings about the artwork instead of trying to understand what an artist had in mind.
The most recognized Minimalists
Minimal art mostly refers to sculpture, music, installation and interior design, but there are also many examples of fine art works created in this style:
- stripped black and white and colourful paintings by Frank Stella;
- circles and geometric figures by Robert Mangold;
- curved lines by Brice Marden;
- lines and cells on Agnes Martin works (though she considered herself an Abstract Expressionist);
- monochrome paintings by Robert Rayman.
One of the first artworks created in this style is thought to be Black Circle by Kasimir Malevich.
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