Whilst certainly interesting the meme in question does not, for the reasons you described, significantly equate to pointillism.The meme sows an abstracting reduction to base colours however the pointillist works of Georges-Pierre Seurat does no such thing.
Look at this image. This image was sent to me via text message by my friend Connor earlier today. The caption was “I cannot even HANDLE this” and I was very confused. You can’t read the text in the photo, so what on earth is this? I looked at the squares of color for a moment, completely mystified about what on earth they were supposed to be, maybe the text was supposed to give context to the squares and Connor had simply made an error. And then it hit me.
The squares of color are the classic Constanza.jpg meme broken down into it’s most basic of details. Based on nothing more than the colors, I was able to recognize his skin, shirt, the blue of fence behind him and conjure an image in my mind of the intended source material.
Pointillism is an art movement that was born out of impressionism. It is characterized by dots of color applied in very specific patterns to display the suggestion of the subject material.
The above image is from Seurat’s classic Un dimanche après-midi à l’Île de la Grande Jatte. There is very little precise detail in the image. Instead, Seurat applies small groupings of colored dots to show the viewer a man’s mustache or the the brim of a hat.
By applying this knowledge to Costanza.jpg, we can conclude that the image the Connor sent to me earlier could possibly be classified as a pointillist meme.
Ladies and Gentlemen, if All Your Base and the Dancing Baby were the birth of the meme, and things like Advice Dog and Rickroll were the Renaissance, then we have finally reached impressionist memes and I for one cannot wait for the abstract.
Seurat had a very methodical almost scientific approach to painting. His methods drew for new developments in colour theory, particularly those of the scientist Michel Eugène Chevreul, implementing concepts like complimentary colours and optical blending of colours. That is to say rather then mixing a consistent colour one wished to paint, Seurat used dots of pure unmixed paint adjacent to each other such that when viewed from a distance are blended by the eye to produce a distinct colour.
Parade de Cirque (Circus Sideshow), 1887–88, Georges Seurat, Oil on Canvass
This pointillist technique takes advantage of our natural perception of light to generate smooth tones and colour whist maintaining a vibrancy which would other wise be lost.
One can clearly see this methodology is different from the meme which used points of colour to nether generate from or new colours. It is an abstraction to four mean colours of the original to give it’s impression in contrast to Seurat’s use of many points of strong colour.
The meme has greater resemblance to the practices of later artists partly influenced by cubism. I recognisable example would be the works of Piet Mondrian, interestingly his early work implemented pointillism.
Composition C (No.III) with Red, Yellow and Blue, 1935, Piet Mondrian, Oil on Canvas
This is a far greater abstraction but follows similar methods as the meme in reduction to vertical and horizontal line and block colours, Mondrian furthers his abstraction by reducing the colours to the primaries for mixed pigments.
“I wish to approach truth as closely as is possible, and therefore I abstract everything until I arrive at the fundamental quality of objects.”-Piet Mondrian
As explained the meme of four coloured squares isn ot pointillist in it self or for the reasons expressed by the original poster. However could not the meme and indeed all memes be pointillist in some respect?
The screen you are reading this from is comprised of points points of coloured light adjacent to each other which when view from as distance a blended in the eye to give rise to distinct colours, now what does that remind you of. The very principles pioneered in practice by Georges Seurat are the very same which are used in your screens and monitors now, all that you see thorough them could be said to be a little bit pointillist.
“They see poetry in what I have done. No. I apply my methods, and that is all there is to it.” -Georges Seurat