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Home >> Popular Painting Styles >> Minimalism


Minimalism is an art form, where the work is stripped down to its most fundamental features and core self expression. A minimalist painting generally uses a limited number of colors and has a simple geometric design. No attempt is made to represent or symbolize any other object or experience.

Minimalism as an art form rejects the need for social comment, self-expression, narrative, or any other allusion to history, politics, or religion. It is based on creating objects of interest and beauty.

The style employed by minimalists was heavily criticised. It was called futile, mechanistic, mandarin, elitist, circular, pedantic and authoritarian. Some critics thought they were dealing with outright fraud.

History of Minimalism

Minimalism was primarily an America Movement, in the sense it was born there,. it stemmed mostly from the work of Frank Stella, whose Black Paintings were first exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1959.these paintings inspired many artists to adopt this new style. Minimalism as a movement was never an organized one. Neither was it a self-proclaimed one. Minimalism as an art form gained more popularity amongst sculptors than painters, though there were a sizable number of artists involved in this art form. The 1966 exhibition in New York entitled "Primary Structures" was a key event in the history of the movement.

David Burlyuk was the first one to use the term minimalism in an exhibition catalogue for John Graham's paintings at the Dudensing Gallery in New York in 1929. The term was later applied to the movement in the 1960's. The term "minimalism" was not generally embraced by the artists associated with it, and many practitioners of art designated minimalist by critics did not identify it as a movement as-such.

Minimalism as a painting style

Minimalist artists strived to be precise and hard-edged. Most Minimalist Paintings incorporated geometric forms. These forms were employed in a repetitive fashion and the paintings were also characterized with solid planes of color and unmixed colors straight from the tube. The primary intention of these paintings was to remove the trace of the artist. Minimalist art strived to create an object with such a presence that can be seen at its basic physical appearance and appreciated at face value.

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