What Picasso says about understanding art is extremely relevant to how we approach abstract paintings. Lots of people think that abstract paintings should have a specific concept of some kind, that could be clearly understood and articulated if only they knew how. This misconception is not helped by the endless supply of people prepared to spout nonsense about what believe that the artist was trying to say. The almost inevitable results of this situation is that people can either feel like these are being excluded from sharing in some secret knowledge, or alternatively conclude that Extra Large Paintings is in fact all a sham. In either case, the result is that lots of people usually do not feel well-disposed towards modern art or abstract paintings.
I certainly identify with Picasso’s remark so far as my very own paintings are concerned. If I experienced a specific message or a which means I really could articulate in words, i would articulate it in words – the painting might have no purpose. The whole reason for creating an abstract painting is it embodies something which only it could, in a manner in which can not be put into words. It is far from an essay it is a painting – it encompasses and expresses things in a language which is unique towards the medium of paint. For this reason we should not make an effort to ‘understand’ abstract paintings in the manner people sometimes feel they ought to be able to.
The viewer should never search for a clear narrative within an abstract painting – it is not likely to tell a narrative, or make reference to an outside ‘subject’ in the same way which a figurative painting will. But that does not necessarily mean there is not any meaning or no subject, or that abstract paintings cannot contact and move people. When asked about subject matter, the Abstract Expressionist artist Jackson Pollock said, “I am the subject”. Pollock’s statement is not only true, it really is inevitable.
The experiences, personality, memories and mood of the abstract artist cannot help but be fed in to the painting when the artist approaches the job within an open and honest way. I do not require an outside subject or idea before I will create Black And White Paintings – I simply begin. The fact that I am just me with no-one else is the reason why my work different to anyone else’s, and the same holds true of artists. The colours I select, the marks a make, the accidents I choose to depart, or to obliterate, these are all things that I choose due to who I am.
If you decide to present many different artists with the exact same basic design on the canvas and make them pick up a brush and develop the painting, the differences in what they would choose to do would 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 because they are who they are and (to quote that other leading artist, Morrisey!) “only I am just I”.
Abstract paintings – There are numerous great types of painting available, arising from a wealthy art history which has seen movement after movement. The phrase abstract art is often used a blanket term to explain non-representational art – this is the deficiency of recognisable subjects. Abstract art was connected to the rise of modernism over the last century, coming into the mainstream with abstract expressionism in post-war art yet still continuing to influence artists today.
What brought regarding the qualities we have seen in abstract art? The flattening in the artist’s canvas surface is one major quality, as artists moved away from a convincing illusionism towards broader-minded thinking. With the invention of photography releasing the artist from painting as a means of recording reality, they began seeing the canvas surface as being an object in their own right, with all the canvas being a single, flat expansive surface. Paint ‘acted’ and affected the flat surface and began to form its kfkymg qualities according to the way it was handled. The paint could exhibit ‘personality’, it had their own dimensions and opened up an array of different techniques we see in artwork with the last century. One of many reasons artists began Navy Blue Minimalist Art inside an abstract way was the opportunities for greater creativity. It allowed for any greater selection of expression and the growth of ideas which were not reliant on representing reality anymore.