“We all want to comprehend art. Why not attempt to be aware of the song of a bird?…people who attempt to explain pictures are generally barking up the wrong tree.” – Pablo Picasso
What Picasso says about understanding art is very related to the way we approach Abstract Painting. Many people feel that abstract paintings must have a particular concept of some kind, which could be clearly understood and articulated if perhaps they knew how. This misconception will not be helped through the endless supply of people ready to spout nonsense about what believe that the artist was trying to say. The almost inevitable results of this case is that people may either feel like these are being excluded from sharing in some secret knowledge, or alternatively conclude that abstract painting is certainly all a sham. In any event, the result is the fact that 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, personal paintings are involved. Basically If I experienced a specific message or even a which means that I really could articulate in words, then I would articulate it in words – the painting might have no purpose. The whole reason for creating an abstract painting is that it embodies something that only it can, in a way in which cannot be put into words. It is not 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 should not make an effort to ‘understand’ abstract paintings in the way people sometimes feel they ought to be able to.
The viewer should never choose a clear narrative in an abstract painting – it is not going to tell a story, or refer to an outside ‘subject’ in a similar manner which a figurative painting will. But that does not mean there is no meaning or no subject, or that abstract paintings cannot communicate with and move people. When asked about subject material, the Abstract Expressionist artist Jackson Pollock said, “I am the niche”. Pollock’s statement is not only true, it really is inevitable.
The experiences, personality, memories and mood of the black and white abstract art cannot help but be fed into the painting in the event the artist approaches the work in an open and honest way. I do not need an outside subject or idea before I can produce a painting – I simply begin. The truth that I am just me without any-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 obliterate, they are things i choose because of who I am just.
Should you 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 the things they would elect to do would be enormous. I have watched other abstract artists at work on paintings and thought “I would never in a million years have chosen that colour and set it there.” Not because I think it is wrong or bad, but as they are who they really are and (to quote that other leading artist, Morrisey!) “only I am just I”.
Abstract paintings – There are many great types of painting available, arising from a wealthy art history that has seen movement after movement. The term abstract art is often used a blanket term to explain non-representational art – this is the lack of recognisable subjects. Abstract art was linked to the rise of modernism during the last century, getting into the mainstream with abstract expressionism in post-war art and still continuing to influence artists today.
What brought regarding the qualities we percieve in abstract art? The flattening of the artist’s canvas surface is just one major quality, as artists moved from a convincing illusionism towards broader-minded thinking. With all the invention of photography releasing the artist from painting as a way of recording reality, they began seeing the canvas surface as being an object in its own right, using 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 multitude of different techniques we percieve in artwork through the last century. One of many reasons artists began painting in Abstract Canvas Art was the opportunities for greater creativity. It allowed for a greater selection of expression and the development of ideas that were not reliant on representing reality any further.