“Everyone wants to comprehend art. Why not make an effort to understand the song of any bird?…people who make an effort to explain pictures are usually barking in the wrong tree.” – Pablo Picasso
What Picasso says about understanding art is extremely highly relevant to how you approach Abstract Painting. Many people believe that abstract paintings should have a certain meaning of some kind, which may be clearly understood and articulated only if they knew how. This misconception will not be helped by the endless availability of people prepared to spout nonsense about what believe that the artist was attempting to say. The almost inevitable consequence of this example is the fact people either can feel like they are being excluded from sharing in certain secret knowledge, or alternatively conclude that abstract painting is in fact all a sham. Either way, the effect is the fact many people usually do not feel well-disposed towards modern art or abstract paintings.
I certainly identify with Picasso’s remark so far as my own paintings are worried. Should I enjoyed a specific message or even a meaning that I could articulate in words, i then would articulate it in words – the painting would have no purpose. The entire reason for creating an abstract painting is that it embodies a thing that only it can, in a way in which can not be put in words. It is far from an essay this is a painting – it encompasses and expresses things in a language which is unique for the medium of paint. That is why we need to not attempt to ‘understand’ abstract paintings in the way people sometimes feel they ought so that you can.
The viewer should not look for a clear narrative in an abstract painting – it is really not likely to tell a tale, or reference an outside ‘subject’ in the same way which a figurative painting will. But that does not always mean there is no meaning or no subject, or that abstract paintings cannot communicate with and move people. When asked about subject matter, the Abstract Expressionist artist Jackson Pollock said, “I am just the subject”. Pollock’s statement is not just true, it really is inevitable.
The experiences, personality, memories and mood from the Contemporary Art cannot help but be fed to the painting if the artist approaches the work inside an open and honest way. I do not require an outside subject or idea before I can produce a painting – I simply begin. The reality that I am me and no-one else is what makes my work different to anyone else’s, and the same is true of all artists. The colours I choose, the marks a make, the accidents I choose to depart, or even to obliterate, these are generally everything that I choose as a result of who I am.
If you were to present several different artists with the exact same basic design on the canvas and make them pick up a brush and develop the painting, the variations in the things they would decide to do will be enormous. We have watched other abstract artists at the job on paintings and thought “I would personally never in a million years have chosen that colour and place it there.” Not because I think it is wrong or bad, but since they are who they really are and (to quote that other leading artist, Morrisey!) “only I am I”.
Abstract paintings – There are numerous great styles of painting available, as a result of a rich art history which has seen movement after movement. The word abstract art is often used a blanket term to illustrate non-representational art – which is the absence of recognisable subjects. Abstract art was linked to the rise of modernism over the past century, coming into the mainstream with abstract expressionism in post-war art but still continuing to influence artists today.
What brought about the qualities we see in abstract art? The flattening in the artist’s canvas surface is just one major quality, as artists moved far from a convincing illusionism towards broader-minded thinking. Using the invention of photography releasing the artist from painting as a means of recording reality, they began seeing the canvas surface as an object in the own right, with the canvas being a single, flat expansive surface. Paint ‘acted’ and affected the flat surface and began to form its ignqsj qualities based on the actual way it was handled. The paint could exhibit ‘personality’, it had their own dimensions and exposed a range of different techniques we see in artwork from the last century. One of the primary reasons artists began painting in Abstract Canvas Art was the opportunities for greater creativity. It allowed for any greater range of expression and the growth of ideas that were not dependent on representing reality anymore.