Abstraction allows man to see with his mind what he cannot physically see with his eyes… Abstract art enables the artist to perceive beyond the tangible, to extract the infinite out of the finite. It is the emancipation of the mind. It is an explosion into unknown areas. Arshile Gorky
This week I was reading about a study published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience in 2014 which demonstrated how viewing art can have positive effects on the cognitive processes of the viewer. The paper specifically compared the responses in subjects who viewed abstract art as compared to representational/figurative art (by the same artist). Across three experiments,the scientistsdemonstrated, that abstract art, evoked psychological distance, which generates conceptual thinking. Looking at abstract art allowed access to emotional and cognitive states that are typically repressed by attention to detail and a predisposition to seeing what you think should be there. One of the authors summarized the study thus, “Abstract art helps us ... shift(s) our cognitive state away from concrete details, and towards abstract ideas.”
Abstract art, more than other types of art, changes our cognitive state such that our perceptions and decision making is impacted. Viewers themselves become more creative and open as a result of interacting with abstract art. The work this week shifted away from all the circles produced last week. I attribute the difference, to the fact that I moved my workspace from my living area up to my studio where I was working on large amorphous canvases. As I sat back from the work produced I noticed what happened. There is a significant change to the palette as well. There is an inference of an inner sanctum here.
I understand abstract art as an attempt to feed imagination with a world built through the basic sensations of the eyes. Jean Helion
I love the inner glow in this piece, and the movement created by the layers of color.
Painting, like music, has nothing to do with the reproduction of nature, nor interpretation of intellectual meanings. Whoever is able to feel the beauty of colors and forms has understood non-objective painting. Hilla Rebay
Whereas the two pieces above share the same color palette, greens and "kings blue" are integral to this piece. Again, there is an emanation from within, suggesting a journey to an inner space of light.
The goal of abstract art is to communicate the intangible, that which eludes the photograph and normal seeing. Curtis Verdun
I am including this shot of the larger painting I was working on in the studio this particular week. I think you can readily see that all of the small daily paintngs share the amorphous quality, built through semi-transparent layers of oil paint.
At the end of the studio session 2/21/2020, I had thought that I was finished with this work. On 2/22 I decided to continue developing this painting. (The completed painting can be seen here).
Abstraction generally involves implication, suggestion and mystery, rather than obvious description. Robert Genn
Returning to the daily paintings I continued with the layers of semi-transparent colors but introduced lines, angles, and circles. Creating separate spaces within the composition and a movement in and out of the picture plane.
What does that represent? There was never any question in plastic art, in poetry, in music, of representing anything. It is a matter of making something beautiful, moving, or dramatic – this is by no means the same thing. Fernand Leger
I am asked from time to time why my work is abstract. People wonder if I cannot faithfully reproduce what we observe around us in two dimensions. Knowing that I have that skill I sometimes think they wonder if I'm just lazy. My answer is reflected in the quotes inserted in this blog. Working without an anticipated outcome of what the final product should look like, allows me to explore and experiment with the formal elements to express the ineffable. To express the ineffable, is my objective. Even when, in reaction to the presidential election a few years ago, looking to beauty for consolation and painted skies and atmosphere. (Read that blog post about those paintings here)
I believe that abstract art has qualities that can provide an opportunity for the viewer to pause their habitual perception of the world around them. This study confirms my supposition. One last thing.... I have not yet named the large painting which was shown ( still in progress) in this post. Please go see the finishedpainting and suggest a name