“Everyone wants to comprehend art. Why not attempt to be aware of the song of the bird?…those who try to explain pictures are usually barking the wrong tree.” – Pablo Picasso
What Picasso says about understanding art is very relevant to the way we approach Abstract Painting. Many individuals feel that abstract paintings will need to have a specific meaning of some sort, which may be clearly understood and articulated if only they knew how. This misconception is not helped from the endless flow of people prepared to spout nonsense about what they think the artist was trying to say. The almost inevitable consequence of this example is the fact people can either feel like they may be being excluded from sharing in certain secret knowledge, or alternatively conclude that abstract painting is certainly all a sham. In any event, the result is the fact 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 worried. Should I enjoyed a specific message or perhaps a which means I could articulate in words, i then would articulate it in words – the painting could have no purpose. The whole reason for creating an abstract painting is it embodies something that only it could, in a way in which cannot be put into words. It is far from an essay it is a painting – it encompasses and expresses things in a language that is certainly unique for the medium of paint. This is why we should not try to ‘understand’ abstract paintings in the manner people sometimes feel they ought to be able to.
The viewer must not choose a clear narrative in an abstract painting – it is really not going to tell a tale, or refer to an outside ‘subject’ in the same way that the figurative painting will. But that does not always mean there is absolutely no meaning or no subject, or that abstract paintings cannot communicate with and move people. When asked about material, the Abstract Expressionist artist Jackson Pollock said, “I am the niche”. Pollock’s statement is not just true, it really is inevitable.
The experiences, personality, memories and mood in the Black And White Painting cannot help but be fed to the painting in the event the artist approaches the task within an open and honest way. I do not require an outside subject or idea before I can create a painting – I simply begin. The truth that I am me with no-one else is what makes my work different to anyone else’s, and this is also true of all artists. The colours I select, the marks a make, the accidents I select to depart, or to obliterate, these are things that I choose due to who I am.
Should you present a number of different artists with similar basic design on the canvas and ask them to pick up a brush and develop the painting, the variations in whatever they would choose to do could 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 set it there.” Not because I believe it is wrong or bad, but since they are who they really are and (to quote that other leading artist, Morrisey!) “only I am I”.
Abstract paintings – There are many great styles of painting out there, as a result of a rich art history which includes seen movement after movement. The term abstract art is often used a blanket term to illustrate non-representational art – that is the deficiency of recognisable subjects. Abstract art was linked to the rise of modernism over the past century, getting into the mainstream with abstract expressionism in post-war art yet still continuing to influence artists today.
What brought concerning the qualities we have seen in abstract art? The flattening in the artist’s canvas surface is certainly one major quality, as artists moved far 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 their own right, using the canvas being a single, flat expansive surface. Paint ‘acted’ and affected the flat surface and started to form its ignqsj qualities according to how it was handled. The paint could exhibit ‘personality’, it had its very own dimensions and exposed an array of different techniques we percieve in artwork from the last century. One of the main reasons artists began painting in Black And White Painting was the opportunities for greater creativity. It allowed for any greater selection of expression and the development of ideas that had been not reliant on representing reality any more.