“Everyone wants to know art. Why not try to comprehend the song of a bird?…people who make an effort to explain pictures are usually barking up the wrong tree.” – Pablo Picasso
What Picasso says about understanding art is quite relevant to how we approach Large Abstract Painting. Many people feel that abstract paintings must have a specific concept of some kind, which may be clearly understood and articulated if only they knew how. This misconception is not really helped by the endless flow of people ready to spout nonsense as to what believe that the artist was seeking 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 some secret knowledge, or alternatively conclude that abstract painting is actually all a sham. In either case, the end result is that many individuals tend not to feel well-disposed towards modern art or abstract paintings.
I certainly identify with Picasso’s remark as far as my own, personal paintings are concerned. If I enjoyed a specific message or perhaps a meaning that I really could articulate in words, i would articulate it in words – the painting would have no purpose. The entire reason for creating an abstract painting is that it embodies something that only it can, in a manner in which can not be put in words. It is not an essay this is a painting – it encompasses and expresses things in a language which is unique towards the medium of paint. For this reason we should not attempt to ‘understand’ abstract paintings in how people sometimes feel they ought so that you can.
The viewer should not search for a clear narrative within an abstract painting – it is not going to tell a tale, or refer to an external ‘subject’ in the same manner that the figurative painting will. But that does not necessarily mean there is not any 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 into the painting when the artist approaches the task in an open and honest way. I do not need another subject or idea before I can produce a painting – I simply begin. The truth that I am just me and no-one else is the reason why my work different to anyone else’s, and the same is true of artists. The colours I choose, the marks a make, the accidents I select to go out of, or even to obliterate, they are everything i choose as a result of who I am.
If you decide to present many different artists with the same basic design on a canvas and make them pick up a brush and develop the painting, the differences in what they would choose to do will be enormous. I actually have watched other abstract artists at the job on paintings and thought “I would personally never in a million years have selected that colour and put it there.” Not because I think it is wrong or bad, but because they are who they really are and (to quote that other leading artist, Morrisey!) “only I am I”.
Abstract paintings – There are numerous great styles of painting on the market, arising from a rich art history that has seen movement after movement. The word abstract art is usually used a blanket term to describe non-representational art – that is the lack of recognisable subjects. Abstract art was linked to the rise of modernism during the last century, getting into the mainstream with abstract expressionism in post-war art and still continuing to influence artists today.
What brought regarding the qualities we percieve in abstract art? The flattening from the artist’s canvas surface is one major quality, as artists moved from a convincing illusionism towards broader-minded thinking. Using the invention of photography releasing the artist from painting as a means of recording reality, they began seeing the canvas surface being an object in its own right, with the canvas becoming a single, flat expansive surface. Paint ‘acted’ and affected the flat surface and started to form its ignqsj qualities according to the actual way it was handled. The paint could exhibit ‘personality’, it had its very own dimensions and exposed a range of different techniques we have seen in artwork with the last century. One of the primary reasons artists began painting in Black And White Painting was the opportunities for greater creativity. It allowed to get a greater variety of expression and the development of ideas that were not dependent on representing reality anymore.