Headwaters State Park, Montana
To the artistically unsophisticated (a descriptor that fits me more than some people might think–or maybe it’s obvious to everyone), the paintings of Piet Mondrian are hard to appreciate. While I certainly find them puzzlingly interesting from an intellectual standpoint, I at best waffle in regard to their value when assessed from a purely visual art appreciation point of view. I purposely don’t evaluate art visually in terms of some measure of “beauty,” but do figure a piece of art ought to move me in some emotional sense–however ill-defined–before I label it a success on that dimension. Modrian’s paintings generally don’t move me visually.
But here’s what has me perplexed. I like these photos of peeling paint I’m referring to as Mono-Mondrians. (If it’s not obvious, I use that name because I see a structural similarity between the geometric patterns of the paint in these images and those defined by the line grids in Mondrian’s paintings.) Furthermore, I see interesting differences across the various images in this series, i.e., it is not redundant to show quite similar yet varied arrangements of the paint patches. It has not escaped my notice that the redundant yet different versions of these photos parallels the redundant yet different grid paintings produced by Mondrian.
So, if I definitely see some visual merit in these variations on paint patches, i.e., they somehow appeal to me emotionally, why am I not able to get a similar degree of emotional response from Mondrian’s famous paintings. Beats me–I’m obviously not artistically sophisticated enough to figure that out!