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!
Categorized “Art & Illustration”
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!
Karen O’Leary is a North Carolina, USA-based architect and artist that simplifies the classic map, rendering a clean design as a result of intricate hand-cuts or repetitive black hand-drawn lines. With maps ranging from New York City to Paris and London, O’Leary erases every information judged unnecessary, be it by cutting out land and water into negative space, or by electing only the barest elements to draw. What remains is the dense and intricately woven web of a very real geography, turned delicate by a meticulous work of reductionism. I love the possibilities of dramatically changing one’s perception of a map by electing what kind of information is shown… O’Leary’s minimalist editing of these complex graphics produces very simple yet strikingly beautiful results!
As a fan of New York-based practice Snarkitecture ever since their collaboration with fashion designer Richard Chai, I have been looking forward to their new installation in Chicago’s Volume Gallery, a series of everyday objects ‘confused’ in their original function, typical context and familiar materials, producing a collection of Fun. A lamp whose globe melts away from leaning onto another lamp. A coffee table frozen in collapse under the weight of a marble that ‘pours’ its heaviness out. These objects are kept in minimal colors and forms to convey the artists’ intention. Funiture reconsiders our reality, often centering on creating confusion – whether with familiar objects in unexpected contexts, or the dissolution of recognizable volumes into irrational forms. Snarkitecture, comprising of Alex Mustonen and Daniel Asham, has often brought the fields of topography and geography into a smaller, human scale. Shelves, smooth on the top surface to function as, well, shelves, are made out of fiberglass and wood while they resemble rock excavations on the underside. Consistent in their philosophy of making architectural sense in their work, what I like most about the collection is that it serves its purpose by reminding us that sometimes it is ok not to take architecture...
This children’s book by Antonio Ladrillo is absolutely adorable. Ladrillo is an illustrator from Spain. The book “Oh! A Zig-Zag!” is in Spanish and is intended to teach children about shapes and color in a simple way. The shapes twist and turn around each other on each page, and the captains are short and playful. The book reads: Oh! A zig-zag! A square has four sides And a triangle has three We are lines And we like to follow one another We are curves! One, two, three, four and five Five circles! Balancing! We love corners We are always parallel We are tangled up Wave! I love how Ladrillo has turned such simple shapes into lovable characters. Perfect!
I recently stumbled upon a new installation by Joel Shapiro of which I really like the energy it breaths. It was exhibited earlier this year at Rice University Art Gallery in Houston. The installation, Untitled, is, like all his later works, a gravity defying spectacle of shapes, colors and lines. Wooden geometric elements, painted in vibrant colors, seem to levitate in the air. Visitors can walk through the installation and the shape and color of each individual element changes, as well as how the different elements relate. In a piece like this, as you walk through it, it reconfigures, which is some essential aspect of sculpture. The sculpture is very different from a painting. It unfolds in time and space. In 2002, Shapiro started working with the idea of forms free from structure. He uses string or wire to suspend seemingly loose arrangements of painted and unpainted wooden elements. Photography by Nash Baker.
Maine based artist Kate Beck creates paintings and drawings coalesced of intensity, intimacy and silence that result from a systematic starting point of materials and geometric shape. A particular illustration of Beck’s work I would like to share with you today is the quite wonderful and minimal Form Surface collection. This quiet, yet deliberate collection of line drawings and paintings displaying subtle gradients of soft and subdued tones, include the application of poured oil, graphite on aluminium, linen and paper. Form Surface in my opinion, strongly reflects Beck’s manifesto: I believe white to be the most inherently beautiful colour as it carries with it the potential to simultaneously expose and negate space. I believe black to be the most innately powerful colour as it is defined by the presence of light as well as by the absence of light. There’s not a single piece in this collection that fails to impress me, but what do you think?
The incredibly talented American painter and sculptor, Ellsworth Kelly is one of the main protagonists in Colour Field painting. Many of his pieces beautifully combines form, colour and space with a strong reduction of the visual language. Kelly’s current exhibition located at the Museum Wiesbaden in Germany is devoted solely to his work in black and white. His black and white works now account for about one-third of his extensive oeuvre and provide information about the stages of his artistic development since the late 1940s. The artist has closely collaborated with Haus der Kunst to present a selection of 50 paintings and reliefs, supplemented by drawings and photographs. This stunning and minimalist exhibition runs from 2 March to 24 June 2012. How I’d love to pay it a visit.
German advertising agency Jung von Matt have created this refreshingly imaginative print campaign to advertise Lego. These charming and minimalist printed ads, although perhaps not entirely original, are interpretations of a selection of widely known cartoon characters, created using blocks of Lego. Refreshing because of its minimalism, which is seldom found with Lego pieces these days, and its appeal because Lego can be enjoyed as a child and as an adult. Clever, engaging and fun. I’ll refrain from spoiling that fun though. Do you know who is who? I’m sure you do.
Drawn Pink is a stunning forty-foot installation by Kansas City based artist Anne Lindberg, currently displayed at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts in Omaha. The work is comprised of threads of Egyptian cotton held in place by staples. Over 23 miles of thread was used for the piece. I am completely blown away by the subtle beauty of the colour balance. The object looks like a pink pencil drawing suspended in the air. People reportedly gasp upon seeing the work, which surprises me not one bit. Check out the time lapse video of the installation. Drawn Pink is part of a group show, titled Placemakers, which will run at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts till March 31, 2012.
Richard Serra is an American minimalist sculptor. Considered one of the best living sculptors, Serra and abstraction have always been associated and he is well known for his minimalist large-scale works of sheet metal. His outdoor sculptures have an initial process of oxidation and the color remains more or less stable over time. One of his more notable works is this mammoth sculpture, Snake, a trio of steel blades that create a curved path. It is permanently located in the largest gallery of the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao. In 2005, the museum mounted eight of Serra’s sculptures to create a collection entitled The Matter of Time, and Snake has now become an addition to that collection. I had never previously written about sculptures before, but I find Richard Serra’s work really inspiring and powerful. And if you enjoy this you can also check another of Serra’s posts.