343. June 21st….It’s Never to late to start Lying…Understanding Abstraction ….and a few myths about it….

“Now That’s Art”  2010

“If you desire to be good, begin by believing that you are wicked.” – Epictetus

generally people see a painting that lacks the recognizable figurative elements….or anything they can discern….and automatically lump it into the category of  Abstract Art…..more often it is the wrong catagoery…but nevertheless a slot that is greatly misunderstood…..many people feel that because they don’t…won’t….or can’t understand Abstract Art…that there is a level of inability of skill in the artist to actually paint and paint well….completely untrue….I don’t understand String Theory….yet I do believe it is very valid and has a purpose and reason to be studied….usually the level of the viewer to understand Abstract Art is much like anything…the ability to be open and willing to accept that there are many other ways to portray….an image….which abstraction does……and does well….

3 Very Important Rules About Abstract Art

Rule #1. Abstract art is not nonobjective…non-referential….nonrepresentational or nonfigurative.
Rule #2. Abstract Art is always a departure in some way from the original image of depiction….. This departure can be slight and subtle or extremely distant and complete but imagery is always the focal point.
Rule #3. Because a painting is not readily or easily understood does not make it an Abstract piece of Art.

Understanding the Basics of Abstraction

Abstraction requires only one thing to define it….there is an elemental image or images that is going to be used as the point of some level of departure and transformation….. example….draw a chair…divide the chair in half….label “A” and “B” …..redraw A….now from a different perspective draw B…..combine the 2 elements of A and B into 1 drawing….that is subtle abstraction…..you can easily redraw A  and B divide them in half  3 or 4 times and then combine them and the abstraction element will become increasingly more distant and complete……yet the image remains the same chair…..the same “Intention”

Questions to Ask yourself while Looking at Abstract Work

1. What is the level of Abstraction?
2. What might the image be that is being abstracted
3. is it minimal abstraction and are there very recognizable images….or is it highly abstracted and difficult to discern?
4. Is the point of departure obvious?
5. Does the painting have an emotional quality that aligns with the intention?
6. How does the palette affect the ability to portray the imagery…is it successful or not?
7. Do I migrate to the painting?


as a viewer….of the work you are going to naturally critique the work in a matter of a few seconds…decide if you like it or dislike it…if it is something that you would hang in your house…or line a bird-cage with….but realize…your decesion is developed by you…and what you may think extraordinary or a complete failure is your opinion…..in order to get a better idea of the …whys and whats about paintings you need to know where it all began and what was the catalyst that changed the art world from a figurative mentality to a more abstract one…..

people often look at painters like Jackson Pollack and…make an immediate decision that they themselves could paint like that…..and discount his ability as an artist……what people must realize is that regardless of what you are drawn too….in art…the historical context is essential for understanding the reasons behind the development of art….sure….to paint color fields like Mark Rothko…in this day and age is nothing spectaculor…..yet when he was doing it….his paintings were well over the top…

So when you look at a Picasso….Braques…Modigliani….Soutine….or one of my favorites Egon Schiele……and think for that fleeting moment…”I could do that”……I dare you to try it…….





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