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Art and Design | History of Art, Architecture, and Archaeology


Gordon Goetemann


In his "new plastic" paintings, Piet Mondrian (1872-1944) created an aesthetic of universal dimensions through the unification of simplified visual elements. Through an intuitive process of trial and error, Mondrian achieved the unity required for his universal aesthetic by creating a delicate tension between simplified elements in simulated three dimensional space. Mondrian's "new plastic" (neoplastic) aesthetic in painting, however, is physically bound to the two dimensional surface of his canvas and allowed only the appearance of three dimensions. In my thesis, I outline the translation of Mondrian's aesthetic into a physically three dimensional context, creating a universal aesthetic in sculpture that operates on the same principles of simplicity and unity. I then illustrate the translated aesthetic in a series of four studio works, of which pictures are included.