“Everyone wants to comprehend art. Why not try to understand the song of the bird?…people who attempt to explain pictures are usually barking up the wrong tree.” – Pablo Picasso
What Picasso says about understanding art is very relevant to how you approach Abstract Painting. Lots of people feel that abstract paintings will need to have a certain concept of some type, which could be clearly understood and articulated if perhaps they knew how. This misconception will not be helped from the endless flow of people ready to spout nonsense as to what they believe the artist was trying to say. The almost inevitable results of this situation is that people either can feel as if these are being excluded from sharing in some secret knowledge, or alternatively conclude that abstract painting is actually all a sham. Either way, the result is the fact lots of people usually do not feel well-disposed towards modern art or abstract paintings.
I certainly identify with Picasso’s remark in terms of my very own paintings are worried. Should I had a specific message or perhaps a meaning that I could articulate in words, i then would articulate it in words – the painting might have no purpose. The complete point of creating an abstract painting is it embodies a thing that only it may, in a way in which should not be placed into words. It is not an essay it really is a painting – it encompasses and expresses things in a language that is certainly unique to the medium of paint. That is why we need to not try to ‘understand’ abstract paintings in how people sometimes feel they ought so that you can.
The viewer must not search for a clear narrative in an abstract painting – it is not likely to tell a tale, or make reference to an outside ‘subject’ in a similar manner that a figurative painting will. But that does not mean there is no meaning or no subject, or that abstract paintings cannot get in touch with and move people. When asked about subject material, the Abstract Expressionist artist Jackson Pollock said, “I am the topic”. Pollock’s statement is not just true, it is inevitable.
The experiences, personality, memories and mood in the Black And White Painting cannot help but be fed to the painting when the artist approaches the job in an open and honest way. I do not need an external subject or idea before I can create a painting – I simply begin. The truth that I am just me with no-one else is the reason why my work different to anyone else’s, and this is also true of all artists. The colours I choose, the marks a make, the accidents I select to leave, or obliterate, these are things which i choose because of who I am just.
Should you present several different artists with similar basic design on a canvas and ask them to pick-up a brush and develop the painting, the variations in what they would decide to do will be enormous. I actually have watched other abstract artists at work on paintings and thought “I might never in a million years have selected that colour and put 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 numerous great types of painting out there, arising from a wealthy art history that has seen movement after movement. The phrase abstract art is often used a blanket term to describe non-representational art – that is the absence of recognisable subjects. Abstract art was linked 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 about the qualities we percieve in abstract art? The flattening from the artist’s canvas surface is just one major quality, as artists moved far 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 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 its own dimensions and exposed a multitude of different techniques we percieve in artwork with the last century. One of many reasons artists began painting in Large Contemporary Painting was the opportunities for greater creativity. It allowed for any greater variety of expression and the creation of ideas that had been not reliant on representing reality any further.