Minimalissimo


Categorized “Art & Illustration”

Based in Darwen, UK, illustrator and designer Chris Thornley, also often referred to as Raid71, has drawn these beautiful and minimal illustrations as an exercise of warming up before a day of drawing. The collection, titled Minimal is Good, is based on two basic rules: 1. One line (occasionally there are two or three). 2. One minute to draw. Thornley explains: After a few days I started to focus more and more on simplicity/minimalism; What was the least I could draw and still convey a person/emotion? Often depicting a female form, Thornley’s illustrations, which could also be defined as line art, are simple and brilliant. Lovely work.


Daniel Biesold is a German artist currently living and working in Berlin. If you’re unfamiliar with his painting work, I’d like to introduce you to his beautifully minimalist white series, which has been ongoing since 2005. Galerie koal, of where Biesold’s work has been exhibited, writes: The white series addresses the process of perception beyond the borders of visibility and its organic deposit. Consciousness as the capacity of orientation in relation to space, time and identity entrenches itself in the segments of the images in the form of grey or white substance. Mere relations among shadows generate a difference and thus shape the world as a space of mental concentration. Galerie koal has also featured Biesold’s black series of paintings, which are just as impressive.


Madmoiselle Favre is a french illustrator based in London, having grown up in Paris and moved to the UK to pursue illustration after graduation. Her work spans editorial, music, fashion, and basically a wide variety of many other mediums. My approach to illustration is about paring things down as much as possible. I try and get to the essence of my subject by using as few lines and colours as it needs to convey the core of the idea. Her combination of sinuous curves, clean and fluid lines, and bright, pop color palettes enables the creation of playful and alluring artwork that always leaves something to the imagination. Malika Favre has an upcoming exhibition at the Kemistry gallery in London. Check out the beautifully geometric and minimalistic teaser video here.


I recently came across the outstanding canvas works of New York based artist, Wyatt Kahn, and thought many of you would also appreciate his collection. Kahn’s paintings, which have been exhibited in London, New York, Berlin and Los Angeles, consist of forms, gaps and spaces. The forms are built out of stretcher panels and raw canvas. The panels begin as three-dimensional objects; but as they gather, they flatten out, transforming into the compositional components of a two-dimensional object. Between each panel is a gap that also acts as a line within the composition. Larger gaps become spaces; these spaces reveal and enclose the wall behind. The wall enters into a figure/field relationship with the panels and becomes just another material of the painting; the painting’s linear aspects both create and disturb perspective. Kahn uses raw canvas to focus attention on these shifting relationships. The forms are really interesting and I particularly enjoy the pieces titled Thing and Her.


January 1st Tilman Zitzmann, a Germany based interaction and graphic designer, decided to channel his enthusiasm for minimalist graphics in an on-going personal project. Each and every day he publishes a new minimalist art piece, based on geometric shapes, on his tumble log named Geometry Daily. I get a serious flow when I draw simple shapes, combine them and experiment until they start to “sing”. Zitzmann explains that he wants to concentrate on relevant things, as our daily lives are full of noise and complex dependencies. He wants to concentrate on the idea and execute it straight-forward, without fuss. Since the start of the project he has build up an impressive collection of graphs of which I made a tiny selection attached to this post.


In March of this year, multidisciplinary designers Signe Emma and Alice Young produced and exhibited an installation titled The Edge, at the Stour Space Gallery in Hackney Wick, London. The beautifully crafted project focuses on the vulnerability of the Eurozone, illustrating how the Euro is teetering ever closer to the edge of collapse. To demonstrate the effect of this collapse we used 100 sheets of A0 paper, which were individually cut to represent the imminence of a foreclosing gap. The assembly of the economy is ultimately the bane of its existence as expressed through each layer and finally to the last where none of the edges of the countries are cut out. An almost transparent Euro symbol in the top left hand corner serves to further the idea of weakness in the currency. I really enjoy the visual effect and simplicity of this installation whilst communicating a very complex issue. Very nice work.


Until September 9, photographer Jacky Redgate is exhibiting a collection of work at the Art Gallery of New South Wales under the title, The Logic of Vision. My favourite piece from the show is Untitled, vase shape #1-#5 from 1986-1989, where black objects are placed on black backgrounds (wooden stands which act as both plinths and infinity screens). Viewing them from the front, it is easy to miss the existence of the objects completely, but once we navigate through the space and view them from the side, they come fully into our consciousness. I think this is a marvellous exploration of the potential for the monochrome to render, “three-dimensional ‘things in the world’ into two dimensional images”, and the way colour and space form a relationship in our perception of the world. Writing of the work in 1993, Ross Gibson says: The object itself can not be represented and can only be experienced by the viewer seeing it directly, reinstating an elusive aura of the original which photography has largely replaced, but one which can only be fleetingly grasped. These images do the work no justice, so if you get a chance to see it in person, I’d highly recommend that...


Berlin based German artist Thilo Heinzmann is currently exhibiting his solo project, Tacmo at the Andersen-S Gallery in Copenhagen, Denmark. This interesting and wonderfully executed collection of canvas paintings has been beautifully presented in the gallery, running until 11 August 2012. Each canvas has an intricately structured black surface, illustrating elongated swings, elegant curves, straight lines of varying length and width that result from working into the paint. An acknowledgement of the tradition of colour-field painting, these black planes also become the site of inscription for sparse and well-calculated movements that the artist executes with both a brush and his hands. They produce a visual suppleness and the impression of speed that they project, emerges amidst the general calm that exudes from the paintings. If you managed to see this exhibition in person, please share your thoughts, or if you’re in the vicinity, try to catch it in the next couple of days.


Agnes Martin was a Canadian born, Vancouver raised artist who came to the United States at the age of 20, where she lived for most of her life. Influenced by the vast landscape she grew up surrounded by and by artists such as Mark Rothko, Donald Judd and Barnett Newman, her spare, paired down artistic style is often considered a minimalist art. An emphasis in her work was placed upon line, grids, and subtle color but her visual language consisting of these basic geometric shapes retains small flaws, purposefully left by the artist. Closeness is potentially created between the viewer and the artist herself as her imperfect hand becomes a connection of a human touch. Martin’s work then becomes an individual spiritual experience as one can interpret her repetitive, reductive elements on different levels, adding dimensionality based on their own perception. I love Martin’s delicate, nonhierarchical ease she brings into each piece. When you Google her name under images, you are instantly transformed into her fluent world of harmonized scales and rhythms.


And now, for a bit of minimalistic art history fun! The graphic designers from Polish studio re:design have recently published the first of three installments of a series entitled Iconic Painters to Guess. The premise is quite simple: choose a famous painter and decode them into three symbolic elements. Some are quite clear and immediately recognizable, like the ubiquitous Andy Warhol, Mondrian and Jackson Pollock, others less so. My favorite is a tie between Vermeer and Van Gogh (I still can’t believe how long it took me to figure that one out!). In the current blogging sphere where a lot of people are quite tired of badly done minimalistic movie posters and book covers, this little game seems like a breath of fresh air. If it were developed into a card game I’d definitely try to get my little hands on one!


Japanese composer and visual artist Ryoji Ikeda recently designed an exhibition for the Hamburger Bahnhof museum in Berlin, which ran from 28 January to 9 April of this year. The project’s title ‘db‘ (abbr. for decibel) refers to the symmetry of the two halls on the upper level of the museum’s east and west wings, while simultaneously indicating the complementary relationship between the two exhibition spaces. The project is a composition in which time and space are shaped through the most minimal use of sound, light and visual elements. There is a very insightful video of the exhibition, which illustrates just how stunning this work of art is. If you managed to visit the ‘db’ exhibition in person however, please share your thoughts.


Diary fragments is an on-going illustration experiment by Serbia-born and Croatia-based visual artist Mario Kolaric. Two simple elements combined – lines and color – are the basis for most of these drawings, so beautifully simple and yet each one is potent with personality, brought on by the bold pop of colors and the delicacy of each precise line. Coming from a background in Fine Arts and now dwelling in illustration, Kolaric’s minimalistic and pop sketches become even more intriguing when you see the rest of his body of work, filled with strongly narrative drawings with a deep folkloric and melancholy essence. His other interests are in merging his illustrations with spatial installations. I’d definitely love to see a spatial representation of these Diary fragments series. I’d also love a wall full of his drawings!