Minimalist art is achieved by reducing a design to merely the most necessary essentials. It’s about stripping things down to the basic fundamentals required for a design to have purpose. The main purpose is to remove certain elements, without interfering with the actual function of the artwork. We will take a look at 5 examples of some of the best minimalist artworks, which are preserved in some of the world’s top art galleries.
DIE FAHNE HOCH! (THE BANNER HIGH) BY FRANK STELLA
Frank Stella is an American artist, born in 1936. He is famous for his black paintings, which he produced just after he graduated from Princeton. His most famous artwork was the Die Fahne Hoch, translated as The Banner High, named after a Nazi marching song. Stella gave the piece a provocative title, directly referring to Nazism.
Die Fahne Hoch was completed in 1959. The artwork contains a mixture of geometric systems and this piece is regarded as the pioneer of minimalism. The piece includes equivalent sides and edges on canvas, using various symmetries consisting of black enamel paint.
COMPOSITION NO. 10 – PIER AND OCEAN BY PIET MONDRIAN
Piet Mondrian was confined to Netherlands, unable to return to his family France, because of the war. It was during this time that he completed most of his artwork. He completed one of his most famous works with the chosen theme Pier and Ocean. His work referred to the motion of the waves breaking against the structure built into the sea. He did it from an aerial view, as he first did the artwork while sitting on the sand dunes.
Many of his paintings contained the fundamental elements of an interlocking framework of black lines and blocks consisting of the three primary colors. Although he made use of a few elements, he changed the structure of each of the elements in such a manner that he was able to produce a different artistic work from each.
BOX WITH THE SOUND OF ITS OWN MAKING BY ROBERT MORRIS
Robert Morris is an American sculptor and writer. He is known as one of the most well-known artists of Minimalism. He has also made significant contributions to the growth of performance art.
His most renowned work was a box and speaker, which played a three hour tape resembling the sounds of the box being made. Robert’s insight behind it was as if the box was retelling the story of its own creation. He wanted people to identify with the construction of the artwork, highlighting the process; not just the final outcome.
THE SEASONS BY BRICE MARDEN
Brice Marden, born in 1938, is an American artist, described as a Minimalist. He lives in New York and is represented by the Matthew Marks Gallery. He received his bachelor’s degree in 1961at Boston University of Fine and Applied Arts and went to Yale University School of Art and Architecture in 1963.
His most well-known artwork is The Seasons, which consisted of four panels on a canvas. The progression starts with a warmth of yellow-green that transmits the light of early spring, and progresses with an opaque forest green. Autumn is a soft hazy grey and winter a panel of pure black, the lack of brightness.
FRANKLIN’S FOOTPATH BY GENE DAVIS
Gene Davis, born in 1920, was an American painter notorious for his paintings of vertical stripes of color. He was born in Washington DC in 1920, and spent nearly his whole life there. Before he began to paint in 1949, he worked as a sportswriter.
In 1972 Davis produced ‘Franklin’s Footpath, which was at the time the world’s biggest artwork, by painting colorful stripes on the street in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Minimalist artwork is about using the natural beauty of patterns and symmetries. Color brightness balance and contrast linking surface colors can improve visual aesthetics when producing minimalistic artwork. Minimalist artwork may be simple, but each piece has its own story to tell.