Abstract Art Explained

An abstraction is the reduction of a proposed image to its simplistic form so that the message it holds is coherently conveyed to the viewer, who is left with the liberty to finish the interpretation in their own minds. The Academic Art world’s influence has exalted the concept of “expressing oneself in a way that is yet to be discovered” as a connotation for measuring value. Artists like Vincent Van Gogh, and Edgar Degas, not only changed the domain of Art Businesses, but also piqued an Impressionist trend in the world. Just because something has the ability to invoke feelings of aesthetic beauty does not classify them as being works of art. Some of the greatest works dabble in ideas of beauty, and the tragedies of life. These universal emotions have occurred in the past and are likely to be experienced again. Many people hold that any object that is given a sense of expression yoked with the perfection of composition is art.

Abstract Art with cubes and prisms.

However, there are innumerable objects, and scenes in nature that have aesthetic beauty without being works of art, like a dew drop on a flower. These are things that we often experience in reality, which may be aesthetically pleasing, but they are not art. Anything that is a selective recreation of reality for the sole purpose of conveying an aspect of humankind or human perceptions of the world can be deemed as art. The artist in hand takes certain elements of reality and rearranges them to make a concept comprehensive. In other words, he partakes in the process of selecting and eliminating elements of reality, and it is not nature that provides him with an idea.

These scenes and objects are tangible in nature and our lived experiences can become a work of art if judiciously arranged. Many will argue about the tangibility of Jackson Pollock’s or Rothko’s art.

If an individual gets close enough he/she may successfully convince themselves that there is some lingering meaning in them. Truth is, there is no underlying meaning that blobs of paint on a canvas or a Rosarch’s ink block test can provide. Clement Greenbourg the modernist critic claims that these are “bits of reality which have their own exalted aesthetic universe”, and are not meant to be perceived as selections of reality. The usual rebuttal to this would be “abstract painting is about the paint itself”; does an individual then have the prerogative to say that a poem is about the alphabets used. A poem uses alphabets, which represent words and eventually communicate a thought or an expression. According to the modernists the term “abstract” refers to “non- representative” , and “non-figurative”, one that does not have meaning outside its own architecture. The more meaningless the art, the more abstract it is.

Therefore a blob of black paint puddled on a canvas is still just paint. The most successful abstractions in the forms of dreams were created by Rembrandt, Titian, John William Waterhouse. They availed professional training, used canvases and brushes to conceive elements of human life as well as tangible objects from the real world, to recreate an imagined scene. These elements are often juxtaposed, like Salvadore Dali’s paintings to illustrate their “abstractions” on canvas. The people who arbitrarily splash paint onto a canvas, turning them into aesthetic patterns, derive great pleasure out of their creation. They fail to realise that there is no selection from nature or activity of mind , hence these shoddy canvas owners do not classify as artists. Intense indoctrination by the public creates a sense of compulsion for other individuals to accept these drabs of paint as artworks.

We think it is our duty to accept such proclamations and soon we distinguish between a good blob of paint from a bad one. Soon our beliefs about modern art can become a way of life. The names Picasso or William de Kooning have long lost their value and have become symbols of culture that must be protected. Defending a belief is noble, however it must be backed by logic. Fighting for modernism is not revolutionary, avant-garde or progressive. It simply puts your beliefs and arguments outside the premise of objective measurement and evaluation.