Monday, 21 May 2012

Mondrian Nicholson In Parallel

This weekend I visited the Courtauld Gallery to see a very good exhibition of the paintings of Piet Mondrian and Ben Nicholson, two painters from the 30's who explored the beauty of geometry.

I learned that they were friends, knew one another and shared ideas. To see their work in parallel, hanging next to one another was enlightening. Both worked and found that satisfaction in the balance of shapes, composed them on a plane of canvas and created compositions that are beautiful. Beautiful in the way it brings a sense of pleasure in yourself, that inner sense of balance.

Mondrian created his shapes with black lines, I found the austerity classical and abstract. He used color like punctuation, carefully placed and made the canvases sing.

Nicholson used shapes to define the space and used color like an embrace, his colors were yellow ochre, red, a soft blue, grey, black and white, closer to the colors of the earth and sky, I would add the British maritime climate sky.

I have always admired both their work, seeing this small exhibition and learning of their friendship opened another appreciation of their work. They had profound influences on 20th century design and architecture. I still see it today.

Sadly the exhibit is over, I made it just in time.

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