What Picasso says about understanding art is extremely related to the way we approach abstract paintings. Lots of people think that abstract paintings will need to have a certain meaning of some sort, which may be clearly understood and articulated if only they knew how. This misconception is not helped by the endless supply of people prepared to spout nonsense about what believe that the artist was seeking to say. The almost inevitable results of this situation is that people can either feel as if they are being excluded from sharing in some secret knowledge, or alternatively conclude that Extra Large Paintings is actually all a sham. In any event, the result is that lots of people do not feel well-disposed towards modern art or abstract paintings.
I certainly identify with Picasso’s remark as far as my own paintings are worried. If I experienced a specific message or a meaning that I was able to articulate in words, i would articulate it in words – the painting could have no purpose. The complete point of creating an abstract painting is it embodies something which only it may, in a manner in which should not be placed into words. It is not an essay this is a painting – it encompasses and expresses things in a language that is unique to the medium of paint. That is why we must not try to ‘understand’ abstract paintings in the manner people sometimes feel they ought to be able to.
The viewer must not choose a clear narrative within an abstract painting – it is really not likely to tell a narrative, or refer to an outside ‘subject’ in the same way that a figurative painting will. But that does not always mean there is not any meaning or no subject, or that abstract paintings cannot contact and move people. When asked about subject material, the Abstract Expressionist artist Jackson Pollock said, “I am just the subject”. Pollock’s statement is not just true, it really is inevitable.
The experiences, personality, memories and mood in the abstract artist cannot help but be fed into the painting in the event the artist approaches the work within an open and honest way. I do not need another subject or idea before I could create Hand Painted Oil Paintings – I simply begin. The truth that I am me without any-one else is what makes my work different to anyone else’s, and this is also true of all artists. The colours I select, the marks a make, the accidents I choose to depart, or to obliterate, these are generally things i choose as a result of who I am.
Should you present a number of different artists with the same basic design on the canvas and ask them to pick up a brush and develop the painting, the variations in whatever they would elect to do would be enormous. We have watched other abstract artists at work on paintings and thought “I would personally never in a million years have chosen that colour and place it there.” Not because I think it is wrong or bad, but as they are who they are and (to quote that other leading artist, Morrisey!) “only I am just I”.
Abstract paintings – There are numerous great types of painting out there, as a result of a wealthy art history which includes seen movement after movement. The phrase abstract art is usually used a blanket term to illustrate non-representational art – this is the lack of recognisable subjects. Abstract art was linked to the rise of modernism during the last century, coming into the mainstream with abstract expressionism in post-war art and still continuing to influence artists today.
What brought regarding the qualities we have seen in abstract art? The flattening of the artist’s canvas surface is certainly one major quality, as artists moved far from a convincing illusionism towards broader-minded thinking. With all the invention of photography releasing the artist from painting as a method of recording reality, they began seeing the canvas surface as an object in their own right, with the canvas being a single, flat expansive surface. Paint ‘acted’ and affected the flat surface and started to form its kfkymg qualities according to the actual way it was handled. The paint could exhibit ‘personality’, it had its very own dimensions and opened up a multitude of different techniques we see in artwork through the last century. One of the main reasons artists began Contemporary Abstract Painting inside an abstract way was the opportunities for greater creativity. It allowed for a greater range of expression and the development of ideas that had been not dependent on representing reality anymore.