Thursday, January 20, 2011

Abstract, or is it?

According to art historian Philip Leider - "if you are going to make abstract pictures you have to be sure that your colours don't suggest or take on the quality of non-abstract things, like sky or grass or air or shadow. "

Have you ever noticed a child's drawing where a smudge of green at the bottom of a paper and some strokes of blue on top will automatically give the impression that it is a landscape. Add a square in between the colour spaces and a triangle on top of it and you have a house, A couple of small v's and you have some birds. Non of these are close to what a landscape really is. Yet we manage to perceive it so. From the most realistic of paintings to the most abstract of works that's what the mind tries to do, organise information, shapes and colour into recognisable forms, objects that we know. And this is what fascinates me as an artist, where exactly is that cutoff line between total abstraction and some form of recognisable object. How abstract can an artist be and yet the painting will instill a sense of space, of an object, of recognisable form.

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