Designer Series – Minimalism
 #ARTWISEUP by SAL McINTYRE
AUGUST 16, 2019 
 

As professional interior designers likely often encounter, the solving of decor challenges may rely on a foray into the world of minimalism. Even if working with a more active arrangement of colors, time periods, elemental objects or what have you, entertaining a collection of minimalist wall art sets the tone with a defined and inspiringly simplistic statement that allows room for more complex ideology to shine through in other places. Paired next to family heirlooms, antique furniture or vintage or handmade accoutrements, minimalist art bestows an air of ‘cool, calm and collected’ amidst an eclectic brew.

Yves Klein – Gold Leaf on Panel, offset lithograph 1995
Yves Klein – IKB65, silkscreen

Yves Klein is one of the kings of minimalism, so interested in the infinite personalities of a single color that it has come to be known as “Klein Blue.” His monochromatic canvases delve deep into the mysteries of the universe, with a simplicity that makes them universal, as seen in Gold Leaf on Panel or in IKB65, a silkscreen referencing one of his International Klein Blues.

Frank Stella – Letter on the Blind II, offset lithograph 2014
Richard Paul Lohse – 9 x 4 Farborte 1954-82, offset lithograph

Frank Stella’s Letter on the Blind II is an ode to the rainbow while maintaining an alluringly systematic disposition, and Richard Paul Lohse’s 9 x 4 Farborte 1954-82 seems a meditation on color, perhaps investigating ways in which particular hues interact with one another, with a highly intriguing and pleasing result.

Larry Zox – Palm Beach, offset lithograph 1975
Marko Spalatin – Orikus IV, SIGNED silkscreen

For more geometric experimentation we can look to works like Palm Beach by Larry Zox or signed silkscreen Orikus IV by Marko Spalatin, which on close inspection has more variation than first meets the eye— each color square features a slightly different pairing, lending a subtle illusion of three-dimensionality.

Ellsworth Kelly – Orange et Vert, stone lithograph 1964
Ellsworth Kelly – Red, Yellow, Blue, offset lithograph

And for another king of basic color appreciation, look to Ellsworth Kelly with works like Orange et Vert or Red, Yellow, Blue — both of which outshine their contemporary digital cousins by way of the hand at work in the original composition, and the beautiful variations found within the magic of lithographic printing.

 
"... both of which outshine their contemporary digital cousins by way of the hand at work in the original composition..."
 

A signed silkscreen from James Siena titled Shifted Lattice suggests nature’s geometry, as in spider webs or frost crystals, yet still maintains the inventive voice of an artist. And Hans Hartung similarly nods at vaguely familiar forms while walking the line with abstract expressionism in this 1985 work Stormcloud.

James Siena – Shifted Lattice, SIGNED silkscreen 2006
Hans Hartung – Stormcloud, stone lithograph 1985

A signed silkscreen created for the benefit of The Lincoln Center Print & Sculpture collection in 1993 by Dorothea Rockburne, Mozart and Mozart Upside Down and Backwardpaints a surprising measure of depth with so few elements, achieved perhaps through the variation in brushwork and the choice colors on so dark a background. And Mark Rothko likewise famously translates an ocean of meaning with a mere trio of hues, as in No. 61 (Brown, Blue, Brown on Blue).

Dorothea Rockburne – Mozart and Mozart Upside Down and Backward, SIGNED silkscreen 1993
Mark Rothko – No. 61 (Brown, Blue, Brown on Blue), offset lithograph

And if the search calls more towards organic contours, Pierre Tal-Coat’s brush forms seem to reminisce about a favored aspect of personal expression, in whatever category it may fall, with works like Solitude dans la Plaine and Proche de L'Ete, and Eduardo Chillida’s semi-geometric shapes invent new vehicles on which to travel to the abstract landscapes of the mind, as in Architecture or Aloft, DLM no.204 Cover.

Pierre Tal-Coat – Solitude dans la Plaine, stone lithograph 1962
Pierre Tal-Coat – Proche de L'Ete, stone lithograph 1962
Eduardo Chillida – Architecture, stone lithograph 1973
Eduardo Chillida – Aloft, DLM no.204 Cover, stone lithograph 1973