We can talk first about abstract art, something I hate and also do. I hate it because many people who paint haphazardly, without any real direction, no point, no goal, no meaning, call their work abstract art instead of shit. Life and images can be abstracted also falling into the category of abstract art but with a reason and purpose. One must also conceder the reason behind the origin of abstract art as a counter movement to realism, and traditional art making at the beginning of the 19th century, as well as breaking the way we think about what is and is not art.
We can look at some good and bad examples of abstract art. First we must identify what makes them abstract and what makes them good abstract paintings.
Although this is black and white and is made up of seemly arbitrary lines. There is a method to the madness. Like all paintings, abstract paintings are dealing with form, line, shape, texture, color and value. For Franz Kline all of his work is creating composition through line, and shape.
A difficult piece to call good seeing as it is just lines. How ever through the use of line it can say something. It is hard for people who do not know art history to understand what this could possibly be saying. If one knows the history of line and its uses through history one can understand a bit more about pieces that bring up the topic. And I only noticed this after uploading it to this page did I notice that if you scroll up and down it looks like all the lines are moving. But even in person you can see that they are describing motion, one can say that they represent something that is not being described, like that these are people all lining up and conforming. You can also say that it is about the history of line and how our perceptions of what line can do and describe has changed.
His work is sometimes more descriptive, but always depicts a certain kind of life through his use of color and texture. Painting something rough can describe a feeling, same as color. To me these colors make me feel a little sick, they are cute and evil, like something wrong has happened to someone good. Though the beauty of art and especially abstract art is that it is open to multiple interpretations.
This is a very simple piece that is obviously talking about color relationships. It is also talking about shape, and how one can create that with the canvas or multiple canvases.
This is very bluntly speaking of shape, color, and value. Well what makes this good and others that look similar different or good? One thing is by working with shape one can create pleasing shape or a not pleasing one, that works with other shapes (either by contrast, by not repeating the same shape, not repeating the same space in between shapes and so forth) Also by layering you can create the illusion of space. People like to look into things more then at them.
A famous abstract painter, his work is very much about how the hand physically moves around the canvas, and how the paint is moved by the hand. It is important to note that most of his works are wall sized or larger, yes larger, I have seen them. The shear size of them is impressive enough but to see that there are detailed parts, carefully worked out makes the hole piece seem precious and important. They all give the feeling of a childhood toy that is loved dearly, maybe old and not look like something you would consider to be beautiful but because someone loved it intensely it is.
You might be thinking how can this is abstract I can obviously see that it is a little girl out side. It is abstract because the shapes, and colors of the real world have been abstracted and really ALL paintings, or drawings are abstract no matter how detailed, none of them are what they are depicting. They are all using, line, shape, color, texture and value to make an image.
Dumas's work combines what is being depicted and how it is being depicted together to create an over all feeling.
Another one that looks like a person, but again it is abstracted, the person, his clothes and so on have been turned into pattern. He is not really pattern, but one could also say that life is made of up patterns.
You can see that this is talking about color and shape, but how does that make it interesting? It is interesting because the color is being over lapped to create pattern, form and depth. Visually interesting you can break up the painting into smaller ones and still get a interesting painting out of it.
Its just globes of paint so what? Well it is, but going back to art history it is saying something about our perceptions of what is art, what is painting and how to paint. The art world is unique in that is is open to criticism and change, always reconsidering its values. You may not think this is art but as my great teacher once said "well the people who know art say it is!" :)
Working with recognizable images but by juxtaposing them to create a hole and confusing image they all are turned into abstractions, reduced to just shapes of color and line. Do these things have any meaning after they have been reduced to just color, the things that they really are?
A great way to change and abstract a photo, the action of the paint plus the color gives you a new mood and feels very active. It looks like a rain cloud or what the force of rain feels like. A simple gesture but long thought out. Not all paintings have to take a long time some times it is the simple gesture that expresses the most.
Instead of using paint, this is thread on canvas, using texture and shape to distort our perceptions of traditional painting and image making. It is a puddle and yet it is not.
As you can see even though it is a depiction of a lake, trees, grass the sky and moon it is simplified so all you are left with is shape and color.
Text can also be abstract, how you ask? Well all that letters are are shapes. So they already are abstracted all on their own, it just so happens that we have given them signifiers. So you can read this and think its funny or clever, or you can see it as a black and white painting or even both.
Because this went on so long I will post what is bad abstract painting tomorrow.