The Fascinating World of Abstraction: Unveiling Art's Inner Form
It's intriguing to discover that many artists embark on the abstract path, believing it to be a more effortless artistic style. However, the truth is that abstract art is far more intricate than it receives credit for.
The realm of abstraction demands artistic discipline, knowledge, expertise in painting techniques, and a profound understanding of art's formal aspects. While abstract art allows for expansive and intuitive creativity, it does not guarantee unlimited freedom of expression. In fact, numerous artists find it unsatisfying, as their attempts at abstract art often result in a chaotic mess devoid of internal cohesion.
I vividly recall a realist artist, frustrated by the lack of sales for her art, who decided to venture into abstract territory. The paintings she presented to me resembled nothing more than haphazardly splashed paint across the canvas, devoid of any consideration for form or design. The chosen colours clashed discordantly, needing more finesse in her realism works. She appeared to have no understanding of abstract art and approached it as a quick way to make a buck.
Sadly her abstract artworks represented a riotous mess, dismissing abstract art as something anyone could create. Now, there's nothing wrong with experimenting and exploring new possibilities with paint, but I hesitate to call it art at that stage.
Transitioning from realism to abstract art was a lengthy process for me, requiring extensive mental retraining to grasp the concept, let alone create something of substance.
In its purest Western form, abstract artwork encompasses subjects that defy recognition, unrelated to external references or attempt to resemble something specific.
Instead, the abstract painting's essence lies in its use of colour, form, and often the materials and support, such as canvas or board. It is entirely non-objective and non-representational.
Abstract art often represents non-visual elements, such as emotions, sounds, or spiritual experiences. Figurative abstractions simplify or distil reality, removing details from recognisable objects to capture their essence or a hint of their form.
So, you're eager to try your hand at abstract art? When seeking inspiration for your abstract painting, you must shift your perspective on the world around you. Instead of fixating on the big picture, start noticing the intricate details. Focus on shapes, patterns, and the interplay of elements rather than the objects themselves. Consider whether your painting aims to be visually pleasing, allowing viewers to extract their own meanings. Does it convey a specific message, hinting at an interpretation through its title? Many artists choose meaningful titles for their works, as it often aids in selling them (at least, that's been my experience!).
However, I believe it's best not to provide excessive explanations, such as writing a statement accompanying the painting to describe the creative process or my thoughts while creating it. It doesn't matter to me if viewers don't "get it." I prefer them to form their own interpretations, making the artwork more personal to them.
Working in art galleries exposes me to the oft-heard expression, "My five-year-old could've done that,", especially from those who struggle to understand what isn't easily interpretable. While some art might strike us as "interesting," I, too, fail to comprehend the hype surrounding certain pieces. Yet, when challenged, these sceptics soon realize that they cannot produce anything superior themselves, ultimately admitting that it might not be as simple as they initially assumed. It's the classic case of believing everyone else's job is easy. I've always fancied flying a helicopter or performing brain surgery; they seem like such straightforward tasks..... Now, I'm being silly—let's move on!
The key lies in educating the public that understanding abstract art isn't a prerequisite for appreciating it. If someone can simply admire a work for its colours or forms without feeling intimidated by their inability to grasp its meaning, then that's perfectly fine!
When examining abstract art, ask yourself whether you're trying to decipher what it represents instead of allowing something to emerge from the piece before you. Consider the elements, colours, and textures present in the painting. Observe how they interact with one another. Reflect on the emotions the artwork evokes. Take note of the title and how it influences your perception. Finally, allow yourself ample time to establish a connection with the painting.
There are various styles within abstract art; let's explore a few:
Cubism: In its early stages, cubism depicted objects, figures, and landscapes with less emphasis on their representational accuracy. Over time, it evolved into more cryptic and enigmatic works, where the overall pattern became paramount.
Neoplasticism: This geometric branch of abstract art, epitomized by Piet Mondrian, employs primary colours (red, yellow, blue), along with white and black, squares, rectangles, and straight lines (vertical or horizontal).
Fauvism: Fauvism disregards realistic colours and perspective techniques, instead selecting colours to convey emotions or create emotional impact. The Fauvists, a group of French painters prominent from the 1905 Paris salon, employed simplified forms, vibrant or intense colours, and complementary colour schemes. Henri Matisse, Maurice de Vlaminck, and Kees van Dongen were notable Fauvist artists. The term "fauves" translates to "wild beasts" and was coined by French art critic Louis Vauxcelles in a review published on October 17, 1905.
Abstract Expressionism: Derived from Expressionism, abstract expressionism applies its principles to abstract art. Painters like Mark Rothko and Jackson Pollock exemplify this movement.
I will delve deeper into these styles in future posts, providing further explanations.
Interested in learning simple abstract techniques? Check out this page for some creative ideas by clicknig the imae below
Posted: Friday 5 February 2010