“We all want to comprehend art. Why not attempt to understand the song of the bird?…individuals who make an effort to explain pictures are generally barking the wrong tree.” – Pablo Picasso
What Picasso says about understanding art is very relevant to how you approach Large Abstract Painting. Lots of people feel that abstract paintings should have a particular concept of some kind, which could be clearly understood and articulated only if they knew how. This misconception is not helped by the endless availability of people prepared to spout nonsense as to what they think the artist was seeking 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 either case, the end result is the fact that many people do not feel well-disposed towards modern art or abstract paintings.
I certainly identify with Picasso’s remark in terms of my own paintings are concerned. If I had a specific message or perhaps a which means I was able to articulate in words, then I 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 may, in a way in which can not be placed into words. It is not an essay this is a painting – it encompasses and expresses things in a language that is certainly unique for the medium of paint. That is why we need to not make an effort to ‘understand’ abstract paintings in the way people sometimes feel they ought to be able to.
The viewer must not search 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 manner that the figurative painting will. But that does not necessarily 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 just the subject”. Pollock’s statement is not only true, it really is inevitable.
The experiences, personality, memories and mood in the black and white abstract art cannot help but be fed in to the painting when the artist approaches the job inside an open and honest way. I do not require an external subject or idea before I can create a painting – I simply begin. The fact that I am just me and no-one else is what makes 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 leave, or even to obliterate, they are things that I choose because of who I am.
Should you present many different artists with the exact same basic design on a canvas and ask them to pick up a brush and develop the painting, the differences in the things they would elect to do will 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 place it there.” Not because I believe that it is wrong or bad, but as they are who they are and (to quote that other leading artist, Morrisey!) “only I am I”.
Abstract paintings – There are lots of great styles of painting available, as a result of a rich art history which includes seen movement after movement. The term abstract art is frequently used a blanket term to illustrate non-representational art – that 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 percieve in abstract art? The flattening of the artist’s canvas surface is certainly one major quality, as artists moved away 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 an object in its own right, using the canvas becoming a single, flat expansive surface. Paint ‘acted’ and affected the flat surface and started to form its ignqsj qualities according to the actual way it was handled. The paint could exhibit ‘personality’, it had their own dimensions and opened up a range of different techniques we see in artwork from the last century. One of the main reasons artists began painting in Abstract Canvas Art was the opportunities for greater creativity. It allowed for any greater selection of expression and the development of ideas that were not reliant on representing reality anymore.