Clarity By Design Award #4!
I was a student studying the Pop Art movement when Ellsworth Kelly first came to my attention. Back in the 1960s, Pop Art challenged traditional ways of creating and enjoying art. The stark simplicity of the movement had people openly doubting if this was “really art.” From Jackson Pollock’s chaotic canvases, which often inspired the response, “My kindergartner could have done that,” to Roy Lichtenstein’s huge renderings of comic book images, to Andy Warhol’s soup cans, it was a wildly creative time. I loved it, and I especially admired Ellsworth Kelly’s studies of color. His art focused exclusively on pure form and primary colors, with a refreshing emphasis of white space.
“I have worked to free shape from its ground, and then to work the shape so that it has a definite relationship to the space around it; so that it has a clarity and a measure within itself of its parts (angles, curves, edges and mass),” Kelly said. “With color and tonality, the shape finds its own space and always demands its freedom and separateness.”
Kelly died in 2015, so he didn’t live to see the completion of “Austin,” his final project. Opened in February of this year, “Austin” is a small, non-denominational chapel built at the University of Texas’s Blanton Museum of Art. The austere white building is a distilled, architectural embodiment of Kelley’s unique sensibility. Constructed of limestone with distinctively non-traditional stained glass windows, the work adds movement to the artist’s playbook, as the rising and setting sun through the windows creates it’s own choreography across the chapel floors and walls.
Cronin Creative’s fourth Clarity By Design Award goes to Ellsworth Kelly for this moving masterpiece, and to UT Austin for giving this amazing work of art the perfect home.
Click here and take 25 seconds to experience “Austin” for yourself (thanks to the NY Times!).