Kevin Briggs Photography

Black and White No. 34

Kevin Briggs

When minimalism first made its appearance in the art world in the 1960s, it represented (at least according to minimalism's vanguard) a shift from art which was overtly dramatic and all-encompassing to that which was not necessarily detached, but certainly that which represented the imperturbable, perhaps even art which may have been described as unemotional.

As Donald Judd, an American artist connected to the minimalist artistic tradition (even though he vociferously rejected such an association) noted, “A shape, a volume, a color, a surface is something itself. It shouldn’t be concealed as part of a fairly different whole.”

Furthermore, from its inception minimalist art was considered far more objective rather than subjective in nature. That is, minimalist art is seen as allowing — even encouraging — individual, personal interpretation and/or application rather than a wholly subjective, artist-dictated reading of the work.

With respect to minimalist fine art photography, the aspect of negative space represents a key component. Negative space refers to those portions of the photograph which lay in between and/or outside of the primary focal point of the composition. Negative space is often looked upon as being even more critical than the focal point itself simply because such negative space — if used effectively — highlights, illuminates, and clarifies the focal point.

Or as sculpturist Richard Serra declared regarding such negative space, “I consider space to be a material. The articulation of space has come to take precedence over other concerns. I attempt to use sculptural form to make space distinct.”

One final and brief note on the subject of minimalism: it has been well remarked that those who espouse minimalism in their artistry are those who at the same time reject conventional aesthetics. It is important for me to quickly note that I simply reject this rejection, as it were. I find no lack of aesthetic beauty in many minimalistic works spanning various artistic genre. Furthermore, I hope that my minimalistic works represent a healthy embrace of the aesthetic tradition.

With respect to both composition and form, many of my works are non-minimalistic. Yet I have always considered Black and White No. 34 to represent the embodiment of minimalistic fine art photography. 

I hope you feel the same.