Minimal Art and Clyfford Still

I’m a studio arts major for photography, and in photo 2 this semester my professor, Albert Chong, has been referring to me as a “formalist.” I’m drawn to many photographs that he dislikes; photographs that have no apparent content or meaning, but are formally successful and aesthetically beautiful. I feel like minimal art is similar to this idea, and that is why I enjoy it. It’s simple. It doesn’t need to have some deeper meaning, you can just look at it and appreciate it for exactly what it is. I felt similarly about many of Clyfford Still’s completely abstracted color field murals. For me, the experience was about the visuals. The way the colors made me feel, which areas protruded and which receded, the weight and composition of the painting, the encompassing nature of the sheer size of the canvases. I’ve never viewed any minimal art in person, but I can imagine based on the class slides that my experience would be similar to the one I had with some of the Clyfford Still paintings. I thought this connection across two drastically different styles of art was very interesting.

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