The Geometrical Abstraction Movement



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Introduction

Geometric abstraction is a form of abstract art based on the use of angular forms sometimes, though not always, placed in non-illusionistic space and combined into non-objective (non-representational) compositions. Throughout 20th century art historical discourse, critics and artists working within the reductive or pure strains of abstraction have often suggested that geometric abstraction represents the height of a non-objective art practice, which necessarily stresses or calls attention to the root plasticity and two-dimensionality of painting as an artistic medium. Thus, it has been suggested that abstraction might function as a solution to problems concerning the need for modernist painting to reject the illusionistic practices of the past while addressing the inherently two dimensional nature of the picture plane as well as the canvas functioning as its support. Wassily Kandinsky, one of the forerunners of pure non-objective painting, was among the first modern artists to explore this geometric approach in his abstract work. Other examples of pioneer abstractionists such as Kasimir Malevich and Piet Mondrian have also embraced this approach towards abstract painting. Wassily Kandindky , one of the forerunners of pure non-objective painting, was among the first modern artists to explore this geometric approach in his work. Other examples of pioneer abstractionists such as Kasimir Malevich and Piet Mondrian have also embraced this approach towards painting.


This kind of Art is not a recent invention....

Detail of a mosaic in Meknes, Morocco However, geometric abstraction cannot only be seen as an invention of 20th century avant-garde artists or movements. It is present among many cultures throughout history both as decorative motifs and as art pieces themselves. Islamic art, in its prohibition of depicting religious figures, is a prime example of this angular pattern-based art, which existed centuries before the movement in Europe and in many ways influenced this Western school. Aligned with and often used in the architecture of Islamic civilations spanning the 7th century-20th century, angular patterns were used to visually connect spirituality with science and art, both of which were key to Islamic thought of the time.



Like music......

This type of art has also historically been likened to music in its ability to convey emotional or expressive feelings and ideas without reliance upon or reference to recognizable objective forms already existent in reality. Wassily Kandinsky has discussed this connection between music and painting, as well as how the practice of classical composition had influenced his work, at length in his seminal essay Concerning the Spiritual in Art.

Expressionist abstract painting, as practiced by artists such as Jackson Pollock, Franz Kline, Clyfford Still, and Wols, represents the opposite of this kind of abstraction.



Book Review

Here is an interesting book on the subject covering all manners of abstract art. I found it to be very comprehensive and detailed. I hope that you like it. I think that it would make a good 'pressie' for an Art fan... It's called Hard-edge painting: Geometric abstraction, Op art, Post-painterly Abstraction, Color Field, Modern art, Abstract expressionism, Abstract art, Formalism When you click on the text link it will take you to Amazon where you can find out more. Enjoy!


Artists who were working in this movement.

Artists who have worked extensively in this movement include:

Josef Albers, Richard Anuszkiewicz, Ellsworth Kelly, Wassily Kandinsky, Kazimir Malevich, Alexander Rodchenko, Frantisek Kupka, Theo van Doesburg, Sándor Bortnyik, Sophie Taeuber-Arp, Piet Mondrian, Victor Vasarely, Lajos Kassák, Peter Laszlo Peri, Max Bill, Nadir Afonso, Vieira da Silva, George Johnson, Peter Graham, Gordon Walters, Frank Stella, Kenneth Noland, John Levee, Thomas Downing, Ronald Davis, Tony DeLap, Burgoyne Diller, Leon Goldin, Jack Reilly, Sean Scully, Günter Fruhtrunk, Ilya Bolotowsky, and Larry Zox, among others.


Fantastic posters......

Pinwheel and Flow, c.1958
Pinwheel and Flow

Here are some fantastic posters to collect! If you click on the graphic it will take you to Allposters where you can see it in a larger scale and also framed, hanging on a wall in different room settings...even in the hall! Isn't technology wonderful....



Books.....



Critics
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Abstract Artist List
Abstract Expressionists (opposite of geometrical)
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