Primary Structures

23 February – 24 March 1996

This exhibition brings together a selection of paintings and sculptures from the collection that owe their origins to the minimalist branch of abstract art. The works exhibited will span the years 1970-1991 demonstrating the enduring quality possessed by this artistic style.

Minimalism eliminated representational imagery. With no apparent external references, the imagery instead explores relationships and contrasts between the formal properties of art establishing an internal logic that invites contemplation.

Primary Structures demonstrates that despite the reduction and tendency toward mathematically regular compositions minimalism still includes considerable variation.

In examining the way minimalist art sought to reduce painting and sculpture to its essentials, the exhibition also explores broader principles associated with abstraction. For example, while abstract art appears visually to be without recognisable subjects, it is possible that an image can be grounded in an actual object, or can give visual form to something inherently nonvisual like emotion or sensations.

The manifest simplicity of minimalist art disguises the complexity of its intellectual structure. While the work seems to exhibit a minimum of content, it challenges each viewer to experience a layered and complex aesthetic response based on his or her individual experiences and expectations.

('Primary Structures', Bulletin, No.100, February/March 1996, p.3)

This exhibition was held at the McDougall Art Annex.

Exhibition number 597B