Why abstract art?
Archie Modequillo (The Freeman) - July 12, 2018 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — Jackson Pollock, one of America’s most famous Abstract painters once reacted to criticism on his works: “Abstract painting is abstract. It confronts you. There was a reviewer a while back who wrote that my pictures didn’t have any beginning or any end. He didn’t mean it as a compliment, but it was.”

For people who don’t understand Abstract Art, it is the work of people who are not good in art. An ordinary chap often finds it hard to get the heads-and-tails of an Abstract piece.  Even a piece that is pleasant to the eye may be considered to be just smudges of colors that come together beautifully by chance.

Abstract Art, also known as Modern Art, confounds many people, including representational artists. The untrained eye often has trouble understanding and appreciating it as a serious art form. A piece of Abstract Art looks easy to do; anyone would think, “I could do that!”

One artist tries to explain that “pure Abstract Art represents what is being felt on the inside rather than what is being seen on the outside.” What may look to some like a haphazard mess flung onto canvas is actually legitimate artwork. This art form requires much creativity to be able to attract attention and illicit new imaginations within the viewer.

Mostly, an Abstract Art piece consists of exciting colors and textures. These elements are what make Abstract Art one of the most favored art forms by today’s collectors.  It is a technique to keep the viewer’s mind thinking, and analyzing and his eyes moving through the painting.

With Abstract painting the viewer is prompted to try to grasp the meaning of the piece. He gets engaged in the artwork as he begins to figure out how and why the colors interact with each other in the way they do. Likewise, he tries to grasp the symbolism of the shapes and forms that make up the piece.

Abstract Art allows the viewer to decide what the artwork is about, on a very personal level. The questions that arise in the viewer’s mind are left to him to answer and decide by himself. As Abstract Art do away with the traditional representation of everyday objects and familiar subjects, the viewer is not distracted by meaningful images – and so the mind is stirred into feeling the energy and spirit of the artwork.

In a manner of speaking, Abstract Art breaks the rules; it does not reflect any form of realism. There is nothing to hold onto in terms of interpreting the painting, so the viewer has to open up his own intuition and see where the painting takes him. The Abstract painting itself won’t tell the viewer what it’s about.

It is true that in order to fully appreciate an artwork it helps to understand the artist’s reasoning behind it. And yet, a large part of the beauty of art is that the viewers can bring their own meaning and assign their own context to an artwork based upon their memories, personalities and life experiences. Viewers don’t need to know exactly what the artwork is supposed to be about in order to feel a deep appreciation for it.

Knowing the artist’s thought process for creating a certain work of art only adds a further layer of meaning and value to each viewer’s individual interpretation of a piece. It might take a bit of extra effort, but in the end it’s definitely worth it to know a bit about the artist’s intention behind a piece of art. It will further deepen the viewer’s quest on how to understand Abstract Art.

All art is created within a certain context. Artists, like their art, are shaped by the era in which they are working. They are influenced by what is happening in society, politics, and the current streams of intellectual thought – intermingled with everyday pop culture and their own daily lives.

In the process of creating an artwork, it is a universal desire among artists to reach inside themselves and rouse their unconscious feelings – whether to tell a story, to capture an image, or to illustrate an idea. All the impressions accumulated on the artists’ mind, knowingly or not, determine the form and direction of the artwork.

With Abstract Art, the engagement of the viewer with the artwork adds a significant depth to the experience – without the benefit of words, beyond language or transcending definitions.

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