Thursday, December 29, 2011

Non-representative and abstract art

People believe that they are supposed to "get" something from abstract art; some "great" or "intellectual" response; and they understand that they, themselves, are probably not "intellectual" in that way and so.. what good, what point, is non-representative art to them?

Admittedly, artists did resort to intellectual tomfoolery originally to justify their fascination with more primary and fundamental underlying elements of composition when they moved away from representation in the 19th century.

The best way of explaining that love for those elements is simply to recall our childhoods.

Many people had a box of "treasures' they would on occasion take out and arrange on their bedspread... it would be filled with articles expressing color and texture line and form... ribbons, eggshells, seashells, wire, coins, bones, broken glass or pottery, old photographs, things with patterns and refraction.

The bedspread was "the support" and the bits of rural and urban detritus were the elements of an endless series of "compositions" produced using exactly the same mental processes as every non-representational artist who ever lived used.

Some of us traded the box for a closet and getting dressed in the morning or for some event or going shopping becomes an adventure in non-representational composition.

Some of us collect or curate... same thing.

Now I am not saying that intellectualism has no place in all of this just that it is just not THE single necessary element.

Arrange the elements you love in a pleasing way and with as much depth or refinement of appreciation as you can muster. That's about it. Maybe you are not an artist or professional, but so what? You stand on the threshold and look in.

Don't let the self-importance felt by some professional artists destroy or devalue your experience; it is valid. and it represents a fundamental approach to any depth or refinement in the appreciation of ALL visual art.