Clean lines, aesthetically simple, but visually exciting. That’s an area of artwork that I enjoy viewing. Simple repeated shapes, large scale, and most recently art derived from wood are some of those traits. After watching the movie on him in class, I can put a face on the familiar works I’ve seen.
One piece of his that moves me, not exactly sure why at the moment, is the Untitled piece that consists of 10 boxes that protrude from the walls and stack upwards, evenly spaced, and sitting pretty. What does it mean? Does the number of boxes refer to anything? These are actually questions that come up within myself when I am in the process of building, thinking, and doing.
The way Judd breaks up a space and how pieces are arranged in that space is another thing that interests me. Perhaps it’s the way the light shines upon a corner of a piece and how that shadow is cast upon the floor or onto another piece within the space. It could be the relevance a certain piece has in relation to the space that is lies in? Near a door? Window? Wall? Or does it simply look aesthetically pleasing when placed next to something, or next to nothing.
Material choice is also a strong influence on me. Concrete. It’s hard. Cold. But those moments before it solidifies, all it is, is mush. Soft, wet, grainy. Mud between your fingers Nothing like what is and will become within the next few minutes or hours. It then becomes this permanent object that is strong, bold, forever. An object that takes the shape of what it is molded to be. It could be a lump on the ground. The rough sidewalk we stroll upon. But in Judd’s case, as in the structures in Martha, Texas, the rectangular almost table-like structures that stand tall and mighty, look so peaceful and yet give a bold statement. They say I am here. Bold. And I am not alone with my other table-like and almost cube like friends. These structures, isolated from other surrounding buildings, lie in their domain as single pieces, but acting as whole.
Judd’s furniture might just seem like pieces of wood glued together perpendicular to each other. Being as minimal as can be. But there is beauty in that I can see. Almost Piet Mondrian-like. But most of Judd’s work doesn’t rely on such bright use of color, and when it is used, it makes sense.
Color is another factor of why his art entices me. The shiny chrome up against a flat white wall, or the gray scale against the brown foreground and wispy clouded blue sky. Both of which show his variety. Even if the subject is simple shapes, arranged in ways that give complexity to the entire work.
I think I’m most attracted to his work because of its simplicity. And with its simplicity comes the beauty. Don’t get me wrong as I do also enjoy the madness that is Metropolis II or Beam Drop by Chris Burden.
Perhaps its the order that I see in the chaos. Because with order comes a system, and the system is fairly simple. But regardless of chaos or ultra minimalist, I can respect both artists with what they do, and how they do it.
Donald Judd’s work might have a difficult time taking the sculpture name. Albeit the wood he cuts and sands is no different that melting wax and forming clay that other sculptors typically use. Both are manipulating mediums. But its up to the viewers subjectivity to analyze and critique the work that stands or hangs before them.