Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Hip to be Square

Piet Mondrian (1872 - 1944) is one of my favourite artists. His work appears quite contemporary but has greater technical depth than the mere application of lines and random blocks of colour. His influence can be seen in current fashion and homewares where numerous designers draw 'inspiration' from his work. He was actually a seminal artist during the early 20th Century. This seems at odds with his collection as it would equally fit into the 1950's or even later. His bold use of colour and the placement of his lines evolved as he developed a technique referred to as 'Neo Plasticism'. He applied a format of randomly placed lines as on a grid and then applied colour within that framework.

One aspect to his personality I find quite intriguing is his change from Mondriaan (after 1912) to the simpler Mondrian. This has shades of Muriel to Mariel for me...although he came from Amsterdam as opposed to Porpoise Spit! His work prior to his latter style was marked by the cubists and a penchant for dancing in Paris where he lived in Montparnasse. Some art historians divide his work into 2 periods... the trees, and then his 'Neo Plasticism'. I prefer his graphic works. They have so much movement and energy in what could be reduced to a simplistic series of line drawings with primary colours. Like the work of Man Ray (photographer) and others of this period (Mondrian included) the true mark of genius is their incorporation as a reference point within the wider design community... and their continuing relevance to us even today. 

Mondrian Tree Series. 

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