Scaling down and getting rid of clutter is somehow refreshing. If you understand this, you definitely understand the concept of minimalist art. Less is more, repetition, and geometric shapes are all concepts of minimalist art. Every piece of minimalist art is done with a “what you see is what you get” attitude.
This form of art should never be mistaken for representing the external world or for attempting to tell a story. Minimalist art is art for the sake of art without the emotion. Minimalist artists endeavor to expose the purity and the beauty of an object rather than to complicate it. Though, this art form may focus on the essential elements of an object, allowing viewers to project their own emotions, stories, or ideas onto the work.
One artist described this basic art form by saying, “The more stuff in it, the busier the work of art, the worse it is. More is less. Less is more. The eye is a menace to clear sight.”
This art movement is also called minimalism, minimal art, literalist art, literal art, literalism, reductivism, rejective art, or ABC Art. It came about in the wake of abstract artists flooding the post-World War II Western art world with images and was a response speaking out against abstract expressionism and modernism. It challenged the established art forms. The artists who chose this basic form of art were tired of pretending that a piece of art represented anything other than what it really was.
Minimalism became known in the 1960s and spilled over into the early 1970s but had its start toward the end of the 1950s. When you look at a minimalist painting, you are not going to see big ideas, complex subjects, or any political or social agendas.
When it comes to getting rid of items we don’t need in our lives to live clutter free, it makes us feel happy. But, the minimalist art movement has nothing to do with emotion. In fact, it removes the concept of the artist’s personal expression from the piece of art. This new form of art focused on textures and materials used and removed all forms of self expression or individuality along with eliminating elaborately embellished or decorative, figurative, or representational elements. Often monochromatic palettes and primary colors are used since these colors are the most basic or neutral.
Frank Stella was one of the first minimalist art painters. He emerged onto the scene with a series of black paintings that consisted merely of black and thin white stripes which were sections of the canvas he had left bare. The painting was entitled “The Marriage of Reason and Squalor, II”. In regard to his art, he once said, “What you see is what you see.”
Some minimalist artists painted while others chose sculpture as their main means of creating. Often the artistic objects blurred the boundaries between the two. Artists known for minimalism include names like Agnes Martin with works such as “White Flower”, “Praise,” or “Untitled #10”. Dan Flavin with his “A Primary Picture” or “Greens crossing Greens”, and of course, Frank Stella with his famous “Die Fahne Hoch!” geometric work among others. All minimalist artists seem to have plenty of works that were left untitled.
Let’s take a look at some images that are stripped down to the basics. Here are 10 examples of minimalist art.
Botanical Wall Art
Even though you may find it difficult not to give meaning or emotion to a piece of art, the purpose of the minimalist Art Movement is to be devoid of that. Don’t read anything into it, because the intent of minimalism is to be presented with literalism. You see shades of brown done in swipes of various sized rectangles. The use of monochromatic or neutral colors is a true mark of minimalist artworks.
Minimalistic Geometric Design
If you thought black geometric lines accented with the bare minimum of white, is boring, think again. There is a lot of apparent motion in this piece. Geometric designs is a key feature in minimalist artworks. Mix circles, triangles, and a conglomeration of the two shapes with black, white, and limited colors and it will probably be a winner in this literal movement of art.
Leopard, Plant, Fruit
While minimalism seeks to pare things down to the basics and not represent objects, this piece skirts the dividing line between literal art and representational art. But, when you leave the emotions out of it, this painting truly is simply what it is entitled, a leopard, a plant, and fruit.
Landscape with the Sun
Unbound by reality or the need to express greater ideas or display a critique of brush strokes, minimalist art is what it is. Something as emotional as watching a sunrise or sunset, is stripped down to the basic colors and shapes that cause the viewer to place meaning on it. However, in reality, it is merely a circle with curves and arcs and limited, muted colors throughout.
African Women in Turban
Sometimes minimalist artists portray faces or images of people simply by drawing lines and an outline of the face rather than intricately depicting every careful features as if it were a photograph. African Women In Turban portrays exactly what it is titled and does so with very few colors which are used in contrasting nature and monochromatic style.
Minimalist art focuses on the essential elements of an object, allowing viewers to project their own emotions, stories, or ideas onto the work. When you look at this piece, you are able to tell your own story. Though, the art itself is very basic geometric shapes and an almost complete monochromatic color scheme.
Minimalist Line Art Faces
Line art faces are an interesting part of minimalist art. Often drawn without even lifting the pencil or paintbrush, a single line or series of lines turn out looking like a human face. The lines are almost always either solid black or solid white against a contrasting background, much like these.
No sense spending an entire afternoon getting the canvas just right and perfecting brush strokes to their finest when you can make an image of a giraffe using basic black blocked geometric shapes. With simply using black against a white backdrop, the only additional color needed to create a stunning image is a big yellow circle.
Minimalist Landscape Line Art
Line art is not limited to merely face drawings in minimalist artwork. Anything can be depicted by a line. Make the line curve up or down, and fill in trapezoids and other geometric blocked shapes with wavy lines and a monochromatic color scale, and people looking at it will interpret what they want to see.
Minimalist Abstract Painting
What do you see when you look at this image? Since minimalist art stemmed out of the abstract art movement, sometimes the two share elements of each other. This swash of blues and whites is a perfect example. The abstract qualities of this minimalist piece make it interesting to look at but also leaves the interpretation open to the viewer. Pieces like this make minimalist art perfect for interior decorating.
Where to buy and sell minimalist art?
Since minimalist artists remove themselves and their personal expressions from their works of art, you might think that they like to keep a low profile. But, the truth is that they still want to enjoy the professional part of being an artist, and that is selling what you created. Find minimalist art online at Etsy, Amazon, Red Bubble, and Society 6. Let’s take a look at what each site has to offer:
Etsy is the household name of those into arts and crafts, but it’s also a great place to find all types of artwork, including minimalist art. Since minimalist art makes great interior design elements, Etsy is a great place to start shopping for this basic art form for paintings, prints, and minimalist scaled back sculptures.
When you need toothpaste or paper towels, this site is perfect. But, you may not think of buying wall art. However, Amazon is a one-stop online spot. While Amazon is the go-to spot for household items and gift buying, it also offers a large selection of minimalist art pieces to purchase. If you’re a Prime member, you can even find several that come with free delivery.
Redbubble offers unique products that are sold by independent artists. Don’t feel limited to wall art, either. You can find your favorite minimalist artwork in framed prints, or a tee-shirt, water bottle, stickers, phone cases, coffee cups, socks, stationery items, or even a face mask for the next pandemic.
Society6 claims that every purchase feeds an artist. Find art prints in a variety of sizes all the way up to extra large. Print your favorite minimalist art on cotton, acid, lignen, or white matte paper. The prints are stunning and are true to color using high quality inks.