Kazimir Malevich

Made by Aliya Blackwood

Recreate the work of supremacist and abstract expressionist artist Kazimir Malevich.

Created: September 28th, 2015



Kazimir Malevich was a Polish-Russian artist in 1878 in what is now Ukraine.  He is most noted for his work with Russian avant-garde post-World War I. He developed the philosophy of perception and painting called Suprematism, in which he experimented with the abstract form and focused on the bare essentials of his work, emphasizing geometric shapes rather than the realistic form portrayed in Romanticism. He believed that Suprematism was the ultimate form of art. He believed that art itself (shape and color) supersedes the subject of the work. He has used a singular black shape on linen, a series of yellow, red, and blue geometric shapes on a white background, or explored different values of white, which he considered the color of infinity,  layered on each other in different shapes, and he even created human like images through geometric shapes. 



I selected "Woman Torso" (1929) oil on plywood, a work from Malevich's last period of art before his death in 1935. This image portrays a humanoid shape half composed of layered geometric shapes in varying shades of red, blue, and yellow with the main portion of the face in solid black. True to his Supremacist style, the second half  of the body and the background are formed through his signature layers of white.


What first attracted me was the drastic difference between the left and right side of the image. The piercing colored eye kind of shocked my system because of how unusual it was compared to some of his other humanoid images that had no face at all. After the initial surprise, I analyzed the two halves. The two halves seem to represent transition, in one case it is the transition of the female image over the ages, and in the other Malevich's transition in style. The rounded edges of the colored shapes  and their layering reminded me of the style of women in the 1800s with their countless layers of fabrics. The white half shows the exposure of the female image in the 1920s with her thinner and more revealing clothes.



Using an open source Adobe Illustrator substitute, Inkscape,  I imitated the painting to the best of my ability. The coloring of the dark yellow shoulder is off  due to me forgetting to reset the opacity. The colors are off slightly because the material painted on, the type of paint, and the exposure of the painting causes different shades of color along the image, making eyedropping a color that works the best difficult. I just chose colors to the best of my ability and tried to match them to the image.



I learned about the intensity of portrayal through simple geometric shapes. Being able to make people feel through the bare essentials of image, the geometric shape, has to be Malevich's greatest accomplishment. The "Woman Torso" is initially shocking , but speaks beyond the shapes and the subject there; it becomes more about how the flat shapes create an illusion of  layering and how the layers of white are individual and represent the infinite change in women over the years.

Because of the clarity of digital images, the differences in the white layers are much more obvious than the original image. The texture of the base and the careful brush strokes are also lost through digital recreation, which is really disappointing when one wants to analyze the artist's emotions and motives through the strokes. However I was still able to capture the separation of the halves and isolation of the figure in the image. 


Alice Joyce, Actress. Digital image. Bain News Service, 1926. Web. <http://www.shmoop.com/1920s/photo-bob.html>.  

  "Bonhams." : Kazimir Malevich, 1878-1935 Female Torso 21 X 15.5 Cm. (8 1/4 X 6 1/8 In.). Bonhams, n.d. Web. 29 Sept. 2015. <http://www.bonhams.com/auctions/13453/lot/78/>.  

Casimir Malevich. Digital image. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. <https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/63/Casimir_Malevich_photo.jpg>. 

"Kazimir Malevich Biography, Art, and Analysis of Works." The Art Story. The Art Story Foundation, n.d. Web. 29 Sept. 2015. <http://www.theartstory.org/artist-malevich-kasimir.htm>. 

Malevich, Kazimir. Woman Torso. Digital image. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. <https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Kazimir_Malevich_-_Woman_Torso.jpg>.

 Severa, Joan L. 1880's women with rifles. Digital image. Landscape Change Program. University of Vermont, n.d. Web. 28 Sept. 2015. <http://www.uvm.edu/landscape/dating/clothing_and_hair/1880s_clothing_women.php>.

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Recreate the work of supremacist and abstract expressionist artist Kazimir Malevich.