Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Piet Mondrian

Early Renaissance painters such as Giotto and Duccio, and later artists such as Paul Gauguin have been among the most significant influences on my work. An artist I don't mention as often who also had a great impact on my thinking is the Dutch painter, Piet Mondrian (1872-1944), and specifically the abstract paintings he produced after 1920. These works, for which he coined the term neoplasticism, reduced the elements of painting to its essentials: a grid of vertical and horizontal black lines on a white background, and the three primary colors. Mondrian felt he had taken Cubism and abstraction to its logical end.

Composition II in Red, Blue, and Yellow
18" x 18", oil on canvas, 1930
Kunsthaus Zurich, Switzerland

I was in high school when I went to New York City and saw his work in person for the first time at the Museum of Modern Art. Their classical simplicity and perfect balance, their minimalism, were extremely attractive and compelling. The idea of reducing color, shape, line - and figurative detail - to the minimum needed to express an idea has resonated with me ever since.

Composition No.II, with Red and Blue
7/8" x 12 5/8", oil on canvas, 1929
Museum of Modern Art, New York City

Tableau 2
21 7/8" x 21 1/8", oil on canvas, 1922
Guggenheim Museum, New York City

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"There is more power in telling little than in telling all."
- Mark Rothko

“The mind loves the unknown. It loves images whose meanings are unknown, since the meaning of the mind itself is unknown.”
- Magritte

"Now, the idea is to get everything right -- it's not just color or form or space or line -- it's everything all at once."
- Richard Diebenkorn

“What I am seeking is not the real and not the unreal but rather the unconscious,
the mystery of the instinctive in the human race.”
- Amedeo Modigliani