Last week in my weekly newsletter I asked readers of EmptyEasel to write down what comes to mind when they think of “abstract art.” Here are the responses I received.
“For me abstract art has a range of meanings, from totally non-representational to abstracted from something. . . which can still be quite recognisable.
In my own abstractions there are many layers, things change as I work and the canvas starts to ‘speak’ back to me. I think that abstraction is rather like jazz where instruments ‘talk’ to each other, and improvisation and changes of direction are part of the process. In contrast, classical, representational work is more akin to classical music—there are more rules and conventions to follow.”
“All art is fundamentally an abstraction, all of it.”
“After holding the idea of ‘Abstract Art‘ my mind for a while, this rose up to the surface: it is the representation of something we intuitively recognize, despite its appearance being unrecognizable to our senses.
Furthermore, with nobody able to unlock its meaning, it remains merely decorative and not Art at all. What is Art to one man, is unseen by the next, making Art very special indeed, for it taps into something far beyond our concrete universe.”
“My opinion of abstract art is that it is not as easy as it looks, even though you’ll frequently hear the uninformed say, “I could have done that one; just sling some paint on the canvas.”
But to be successful, abstract art has to adhere to the same principals as other art. . . it has to have depth, composition, balance, and most of all it has to be able to hold your attention without the benefit of a recognizable form or object to emotionally attach to.”
“I believe it was Cezanne who declared, ‘From this point on painting is dead!’ when he first saw a photograph—because painting, up until photography, was the most realistic way of recording a scene or a portrait.
But painting didn’t die, instead it went abstract. Painters found new ways of expressing themselves and experimented with colour, form and perspective, along the way forming new movements like Impressionism and Cubism.”
“I think abstract painting is a very cerebral and personal thing. It is not just how you see an object or scene but how your brain reacts to it.”
“What I love most about abstract art is that it’s not limited to the external world of the five senses. It allows the artist and the viewer the opportunity to explore the inner planes of existence—the mind, the heart, the soul—in a more direct way. It brings to light all the feelings and beliefs that inevitably run our daily lives. It is a very vulnerable process and experience. It is undefined and never boring.”