Wednesday, June 8

Abstract Abstraction

Abstract Abstraction
I’m not one of those artists who frown at any art other than the kind or type I create. I am open to most types of expressive art and paintings. Perhaps less so with sculpture.

I admit I like representational art more than I like abstract art. I don’t know why this is so or why I feel this way.

I thought maybe if I better understood it, then maybe I would be more open to it or at least know why.

When you look up abstract on, you will find that the word abstract has a lot of different meanings. It’s an adjective. It’s a noun. It’s also a verb. Bet you didn’t know that.

Fortunately, the editors at this dictionary knew exactly what I was looking for.  Under the adjective section of definitions they put an italicized subhead—Fine Art.

It says:

-          Of or pertaining to the formal aspect of art, emphasizing lines, colors, generalized or geometrical forms, etc., especially with reference to their relationship with one another.

-          (often with initialized capital letter) pertaining to the nonrepresentational art styles of the 20th century.

OK. At least they acknowledged it as Fine Art.

The first part sounds like it could be anything--lines, colors, form—what else is there? I suppose the word ‘emphasizing’ delineates it from representational art as well as the term ‘geometrical.’ I wonder if Jackson Pollock knew this.

The second part is pretty specific—art styles of the 20th century. It’s a good thing van Gogh was popular in the 19th century; otherwise, some may have called his work abstract. His painting, Bedroom in Arles, is pretty geometrical, don’t you think?
So now it’s the 21st century. Is abstract still the correct term for nonrepresentational art? The word seems to have taken on a broader meaning of anything that you just can’t put your finger on, so to speak, to describe what it is.

(Oh, if you have time on your hands, look up the word abstraction.)

I have more important things to think about. Like how to paint a winter scene I’m working on—shall I make it abstract or representational?

Happy Painting!

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