Art for Interiors: Minimalism

by Anthony Annarino 13. June 2018 15:22

Minimalism. For people who feel less is more.

In a hectic world, minimalist art is a great way to escape and have a tranquil moment. It’s also an enduring interior design trend that never seems to go out of style.

We look at the best art for minimal interiors to help you create a serene oasis within the chaos of family, friends, career or general life commitments.

Minimalism in art

Minimalist art is different to minimalist interiors, but they both converge to complement each other and have the same overall effect; a calm and centred environment.

A minimalist interior is, more often than not, made up of white walls and simply furnished with Nordic-style wood, black, metallic or off-white furniture. It is a very clean style with no additional or decorative objects - or some might say ‘clutter’ - as you would with a Vintage or Art Deco interior, for example.

In contrast, Minimalist art is colourful and bright. It’s usually an abstract composition, but (and here’s where we touch on a bit of art theory) it doesn’t refer to anything but itself. The pattern on the canvas is meant to suggest nothing more than - a pattern on a canvas. There’s no reference to society or politics, which means you can enjoy and lose yourself in a painting for what it is; essentially, it’s an immersive experience.

Timeless by Paresh Nrshinga
Timeless by Paresh Nrshinga

Mark Rothko and Barnett Newman were the key artists of this movement. They believed in colour theory and its impact on emotion, as they felt that colour and art combined should be a more mindful experience. Which is why this is such a great style for interiors as it’s calming and relaxing.

Multicolour abstract by Monika Howarth
Multicolour abstract by Monika Howarth

Today we are very influenced by the impact colour has on mood, especially when it comes to home decorating, and it’s these artists who helped shape this way of thinking.

What to look for when buying Minimalist art

Less is very much more when it comes to choosing a minimalist painting. They’re usually abstract works of art and are always clean and simple pieces. The barest, well, minimum needs to be in the painting, so they are very uncluttered.

Since a minimalist interior is quite white and sparse, it’s often best to go art which includes bold colours, to break things up a bit. Barnett Newman’s paintings were usually just one tone or shade over a whole canvas but were always calming shades of reds, blues and greens.

Abstract oil painting
Abstract oil painting "Space Y". Size 39.37/27.5(100/70cm). Unique impasto texture. by Karina Antonczak Yellow abstract painting  by Monika Howarth
Yellow abstract painting by Monika Howarth

The best interior styles for minimalism

Although we’ve only focused on minimalist interiors, there are other styles where this art also works, such as mid-century modern and Industrial, which is defined mainly by exposed brick, cool-coloured walls, black piping, neutral browns and woods, especially when it comes to furniture.

Feng Shui Water Element 1 by Rodney Holt
Feng Shui Water Element 1 by Rodney Holt Malmö by Jonathan Talks
Malmö by Jonathan Talks

The Scandinavian style also uses muted colours but with more of a focus on greys and greens for furnishings and accessories. There’s also the Bohemian style, which uses more natural wicker and hessian materials, patterned and textured furnishings.

As these styles do tend to use a colour palette that is on the cooler end of the spectrum, the colours in Minimalist art will bring a space to life and add warmth and depth to a room.

Dynamic I Ltd Edition Large Canvas by Pauline Thomas
Dynamic I Ltd Edition Large Canvas by Pauline Thomas

Where to hang Minimalist art

Due to the mindful nature of this style of art, it needs to be hung in a place where you can sit down, relax, unwind and look at the painting in order to take a moment.

With this in mind, calmer spaces such as bedrooms, studies, offices and even bathrooms are ideal. Even though a minimalist painting doesn’t relate to anything it’s not something you can simply engage with quickly, so it needs to be in a place where you can take time and enjoy the process of looking.

Mark Rothko believed his paintings worked best in a Church environment, so that gives you an idea of how calming this art is supposed to be.

Calming Thoughts by Stefan Fierros
Calming Thoughts by Stefan Fierros

Art reduces stress, and, as we’re living increasingly busy, smartphone-based lives it’s even more important to take a time-out from it all. It’s almost as if the original minimalist artists predicted the future!

There is now also an overall trend towards minimalism, whereby people are focusing on reducing life ‘clutter’ in order to sharpen their minds and create time for the things that really matter in their lives, such as friends, family or hobbies.

The mindful, or meditative, nature of a minimalist painting aims to start you on that journey for a more balanced life, which is a great way to think about original art.

Tags:

Art History | Buying Art | The Art World

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