Abstract art...what is it?

In my effort to elaborate on what you may already know about abstract art or explain to those who don't know about it...here's some info and thoughts!

Abstract art uses a visual language of form, color and line to create a composition which exists independently of visual references to the world”. - Wikipedia.

In other words, what you see is used to create something that does not exist already in the world you are used to seeing and relating forms to.
There are two main categories of art, representational and abstract. Unless a painting is obviously or even in an abstract way representing a recognizable image, then it is abstract. Abstract art does not seek to imitate or re-create physical objects that our mind can relate to from the world we see.
To some, abstract art can seem meaningless because of the need to relate it to something we recognize. On the other hand to others it may seem intimidating because its meaning is elusive or altogether beyond comprehension. However, abstract art is not meant to be “understood” in the traditional sense. There are no clear intentions with images of death, political oppression, freedom or any other of the human conditions artists strive to represent. With abstract art there are titles that have no meaning or no obvious relation to the piece itself. Many times when viewed on screen or in print, an abstract piece is hard to appreciate to its fullest extent.
And here in lies the uniqueness of abstract art. It is meant to be an experience. The piece is created so that you may disconnect your conscious mind and just see the whole painting without relating it to anything logical. See the colors, the composition, movement, textures as a group of items coming together to give you an experience, a feeling.
It’s been argued that to give an abstract painting a title influences the viewer’s experience. If an artist tells you what they meant then where’s the individual experience that the viewer should have? How is it then the viewer’s experience? Then it is as if the artist is telling you what to feel or see. The title can then replace the relation of objects and take away the abstract intent.
However, it’s also been argued that to not give a title separates the viewer from the artist. Perhaps it seems pretentious or even selfish. If the artist’s intent is to share something from within, then why not give it a title that represents either the intent, the inspiration or circumstances that lead to the creation of the piece?
So, do I let you figure out for yourself what my pieces mean on your own without any influence? Do I give you an idea of what it meant to me and then see if you can relate to it as I did? Or…perhaps we figure out a way to meet in the middle.

6 comments :: Abstract art...what is it?

  1. I remember understanding abstract so much better after reading this explanation, that I couldn't wait to see my next piece just to challenge myself to EXPERIENCE the painting instead of trying to figure out what the hell it was supposed to be! -Maggie

  2. I guess I'll see you Houston when I'm showing my new pieces then! ;)

  3. Hiyas Monica!!!!!!!!!
    Matthew Adams here (2wire). How you been sweety? :) I'm so glad to see you are still pursuing your art!

  4. I really like what you said about titles. It's funny because when I do my paintings I generally don't try to understand what it is that I am painting until I am finished with it, so I read the abstraction once I am through and then name it. Sometimes it is very difficult and can take me a few months to let it all finally soak in. I like your article too. :)


  5. I say give titles. If the viewer can't still come up with their own interpretation that's a personal problem on their part. ;0 ;)~

  6. Why does the title matter? I don't speak very many languages, but I enjoy paintings by artists from many backgrounds. Either a work moves me, or it doesn't. (That goes for "realistic" works, too.)

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