Geometric art, also called geometric shapes art, is the art of pictures made from shapes. Geometric artists use one or several geometric shapes to create their pictures. The idea is to create a visual sensory experience.
Geometric art is abstract and futuristic. The paintings and “creations” are often colorful, portraying shapes in imaginative ways. Several abstract art trends originated from geometry, such as Constructivism and Supremacism in Russia in the 20th century, Concrete Art in Europe in the 1930s, and minimalism in America in the 1960s.
To give you an overview of famous geometric art, we’ve listed a few of the most famous geometric artists and some of their works. For your convenience, we also provide brief descriptions of the works.
Origin of Using Shapes in Artworks
Before we list the modern geometric artists and their artwork, let’s see whether shape painting and the use of shapes in the art are new. Unfortunately, the answer is “no.”
Geometric art was part of Greek art in the Greek Dark Ages in 900 – 700 BC. Its center was in Athens, and from there, the style spread. For example, they used geometric shapes in their pottery vases.
The vases had various uses or purposes, including funerary vases. Thus, the modern geometric art movement artists are not the first to use geometric shapes in art.
Geometric Art Today
Today the artworks created in the style of geometric shapes painting can be described as artworks of a non-representative nature that use straight and curved lines and color to form shapes, patterns, and designs with complex mathematical features and relationships.
A geometric artwork is a shapes painting designed and created with lines, circles, squares, and rectangles mostly in primary colors. Geometric art lacks verbal messages, and therefore the message of the creator of the artwork is based on his subjectivity.
Modern geometric art design comes in various types, sizes, and shapes.
Fernand Leger (1881 – 1951)
Léger strove to find new beauty and capture the contrasts of modern life through visual differences. He combined Cubism with the use of color. He used this idea in a series of forty-five paintings in 1913/14. He called the series “Contrasts of Forms”. Léger used a language close to abstraction, but he hints at the human figure with a dehumanized and mechanized human figure.
In contrast to the flatness of Cubism, Léger endowed objects with a sense of physical volume. He remarked: “I oppose curves to straight lines, flat surfaces to molded forms.” This led to his using tubular forms with concave and convex planes. He also used mechanical rhythms shaped from contrasts of pure colors.
His well-known painting “The Staircase” is derived from his explorations with contrasting forms and colors. The tubular structures give volume by using red, blue, and yellow touches, which cover the surface only partially. In his extraordinary geometric shapes painting he achieved depth by superimposing planes and forms, and he used a few white brushstrokes to highlight certain areas to enhance the three-dimensionality of the cylindrical forms.
Piet Mondrian (1872 – 1944)
Piet Mondrain is recognized as one of the pioneers of 20th-century abstract art. He changed his artistic direction from figurative painting to a completely abstract style. But, in the end, he reached a point where his artistic “vocabulary” only consisted of simple geometric elements.
His work “Broadway Boogie-Woogie” was completed in 1943 and is considered the pinnacle of his representation of lines, squares, and primary colors. It is a great piece of artwork in the abstract geometric style.
Mondrain himself said about this work: “Art is higher than reality and has no direct relation to reality. To approach the spiritual in art, one will make as little use as possible of reality because reality is opposed to the spiritual. We find ourselves in the presence of abstract art. Art should be above reality; otherwise, it would have no value for man”.
Arthur Dorval (Born: 1987)
Arthur Dorval has from a very early age been fascinated by abstract painting. He has studied illustration and design and now concentrates on the geometric art model and his passion for color to reinvent the geometric image. He is recognized as a prominent young French geometric artist.
His “Eclosions” gives a modern vision of geometric art. However, it also resonates with a futuristic feeling. His “Geometric Bursts” inspires other compositions vibrant with energy in which fundamental forms fit together in new ways. From 2010 he has developed a technique to skillfully combine colors and forms, to create construction and balance.
Most of Dorval’s works have a movement and vibrancy linked to architectural objects. This makes it possible for him to create extraordinary geometric shapes painting.
François Morellet (1926 – 2016)
François Morellet, a French contemporary painter and sculptor, started as an artist with prefigured minimal art and conceptual art. However, he had a significant influence on the development of geometrical abstract art. In fact, for him, a work of art referred only to itself.
His geometric, shape painting works include “Series: Répartitions aléatoires”, “Répartition de 16 formes identiques”, and “Series: Désintégrations architecturales”. From the 1960s on, Morellet worked in various materials like fabric, tape, and neon.
One of his works is part of the permanent collection of the Center for International Light Art (CILA) in Unna, Germany.
Sean Scully (Born 1945)
According to Chinese legend, an unbreakable red thread lies between you and your loved one across eternity. Scully’s “Red Light” is based on this legend and established his reputation as one of his first paintings.
Art scholars nowadays draw a thread back from “Red Light” to the simplicity of Matisse’s favorite painting, “The Red Studio”, in 1911. Scully’s intention was, according to himself, to “make a mystery or a compression of a surface”.
Scully is known to tackle the color red by creating a psychedelic scaffolding, drawing the eye to create an illusion of space through a dense grille of thin stripes in different colors.
Luke Newton is a young British artist known for his manipulation and interpretation of the most mundane things. He transforms various everyday objects, like iPods, into defensive weapons or attaches red stickers in various forms on the canvas.
He uses unconventional materials for his artworks. For example, his abstract painting “Beads Thrill – Future” is wholly created using pearls. His “Warning Signs” calls society conform to pre-formatted emotions and actions. His “Heart Axes” and “Target Heart” encourage the vision of cruel love.
The Bottom Line
Somebody has remarked that if photography can capture any life form, what’s the point of painting any picture? As shown in this article, geometric art has changed this concept by creating art that originates from the artist’s emotions instead of a painted reproduction.