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Mondrian- using Shapes to represent the world around Us

Artists often use geometric shapes as a representation of the world that they see around them. This is often combined with primary and secondary colours to abstract more organic shapes and colours. Mondrian was an artist who took inspiration from Jazz music and the city around him. The lines and colours in this artwork entitled "Broadway Boogie- woogie" were his way of showing the syncopated beat in jazz music coupled with the grid pattern of a city.



To learn about this abstraction process, the students first completed Mondrian inspired cubes. The students were given the net of cube as a base for their artwork. They drew inspiration from Mondrian's  artworks which they replicated using paper collage, sticking lines and squares over the net. This lesson could also be used for Mathematics looking at 2D and 3D shapes together. The resulting cubes were 

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Mondrian's artwork is a good example of abstraction, which is not using shapes to be representational of images or figures but using art to represent ideas or concepts. To help students understand this process we watched a clip from the movie "Inside Out".



The movie clip shows how shape moves from being representational to abstract. After watching the video, the students were asked to brainstorm ideas about how they could interpret Piet Mondrian's artwork in their own artwork. They were asked to consider designs such as:
  • spider's web
  • an umbrella
  • a piece of clothing
  • a portrait
  • a name or their initials
The could use mediums such as collage, drawing or digital artwork which they could use to create their own interpretation. 

The students completed this challenge with creativity and enjoyed having the freedom to use Mondrian's artwork as an interpretation. There were some creative results as can be seen from the artworks below: 

Josh's digital Art 

Sian's digital Art 

Alexandra's Artwork

Michaela's clothing design




If this unit were to be repeated, I would look further at Mondrian's other artowrks and the development that he made as an artist. 

The process of drawing inspiration from artist such as Mondrian has helped the students to understand the process of abstraction, while also using an understanding of two dimensional and three dimensional shapes.

What was something new that you learned about Mondrian or abstract art? What would you change about your Artwork? What was the most successful part of your artwork that you achieved? Why? 


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