Saturday, 19 November 2011

Mondrian-ish, an attempt to produce images similar to Mondrian's Compositions

Many of Mondrian's later works have a very familiar appearance. They are very geometric, consisting of rectangular colour spaces separated by vertical or horizontal black lines. They appear to follow some simple rules. In an attempt to discover these rules and hence produce similar images I constructed the following image comprising six separate panels each constructed according to the same rules.

The rules I used were as follows
  1. Divide each panel by a horizontal or vertical line to create two smaller panels
  2. Apply rule 1 to the smaller panels and repeat this division process
  3. Colour the eventual subpanels red, blue, yellow or white
  4. At most one subpanel can be coloured red, blue or yellow
A very large number of Mondrian-ish panels could be created this way. The image above shows only six examples.

In fact, each of the panels shown in the image above has been generated using a more restricted set of rules. The subdivision is always - first horizontal, then vertical and finally horizontal. We always end up with exactly eight smallest panels. The subdivision is always in the ratio 1 to 2 or 1 to 3. I always made sure I used each of the non-white colours exactly once, rather than at most once.

Mondrian never obeyed such strictures.

Even so, my attempts are remarkably reminiscent of some of Mondrian's Compositions.

Of course, they lack the "weights and tensions ... [that] provoke relationships that concentrate or diffuse attention" [Bridget Riley, Mondrain Perceived]. That would require a great artist to guide the choice of division and the choice of colour, not just a set of rules.

Nevertheless, I continue the search for rules that get me closer to Mondrian's actual images.