Deconstructing Minimalism

Minimalism is a term that comes up over and over in art and design. It has a long history, and has been broadly used across disciplines for nearly a century. Collectors often ask us: what exactly is minimalism? Here's the breakdown:

Nicole Patel   Aqua Graph , 2016.  Cotton Thread on Natural Muslin with Red Oak Frame.   Edition 1 of 10.   40 x 32 in.

Nicole Patel
Aqua Graph, 2016.
Cotton Thread on Natural Muslin with Red Oak Frame.
Edition 1 of 10. 40 x 32 in.


The minimalist lifestyle purges all the unnecessary baggage from our lives. Minimalists limit both their possessions and their activities to the essentials. This principle has endless interpretations, varying depending on the individual, and what they consider to be the most necessary aspects of their lives. The goal is to eliminate extra noise from our lives to make space for what we consider most important, in order to live meaningfully.


Art applies these same principles in a visual context. Minimalist art focuses on the essentials of visual experience: form and color. There is an emphasis on preserving the inherent qualities of the material--whether it is paint, metal, or thread--and straying away from the illusions created by representational work. The most popular interpretation of this is geometric abstraction.


Minimalist design takes these visual elements and incorporates them into products and spaces, both physical and virtual. This is achieved by employing a limited palette, wide negative spaces, and focused, crisp lines. The effect creates calm, balanced environments free of clutter, whether it is a building, a room, or a web page.


Thursday, November 17, 2016: Puloma Ghosh