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Robert Frank Gabriel

9 Days Ago

What I Find Puzzling About Abstract Art

What I find puzzling about abstract art...see artists such as Mark Rothko, Barnett Newman and Carmen Herrera.

From Carmen Herrera (abstract artist)...“There, an extraordinary world opened up to me that never closed: the world of straight lines, which has interested me until this very day."

I do like their images. But here is what puzzles me. I am NOT an artist (I am a photographer) and yet I can duplicate their lines, colors, squares, triangles. In short, I can copy their work and I have with my computer. 

I CANNOT copy the work of such Artists as Van Gogh, Goya, Rembrandt, and such.

Equally puzzling is the obvious visual fact that for the most part one abstract artist cannot be distinguished from the other. Look at the works of some 50 abstract artists as I have, and you will see what I mean. Some of the abstract artists DO have a style of their own, but most do not.

Not to have an individual style as a Master Artist is odd in my opinion.

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Steve Clarke

9 Days Ago

I like that middle ground between realism and totally abstract - semi-abstract - art lies there, imo, as it is beyond pure depiction and abstracts some essence of reality. Pure abstract is as lacking in that as pure realism. Those are the extremes and as such have nowhere to go / dead-ends. Just my opinion.

 

Edward Fielding

9 Days Ago

You can copy their look but you can't copy their process, their connections and the singular point in history that they existed within. You also can't copy their sales history or authenticity.

.....

"Not to have an individual style as a Master Artist"

Yet if you traced their history of exploring a process or theme, you would the the progression from one piece to the next.

 

David Bridburg

9 Days Ago

Hi Robert,

Timing. In art that is the same as location, location, location.

The early theorists in any movement or age have the most theory, the most depth.

It is really very questionable that making AbEx images Gen Z will be more than packaging for a gum wrapper.

I go to the Wadsworth Atheneum, the oldest museum in the US. There is a great hall with Dutch Golden Era paintings. Most of them are flat. They never really mattered. The artists never really mattered. It is not a nice effect in that hall when I see it. I know these works are second rate. Yes remaking them would be a massive amount of work.

Then I can go off to a side room, and see crazy abstracts from the 1970s. Worthless stuff. Bad in fact. Boring. etc. There are plenty of Abstract artists here today on FAA that have far better work. This was Gen 2, 3 or 4 AbEx artists at the Wadsworth.

People are going to produce work. I feel and think in many ways as you do. But I am not worried about it.

What makes a master artist? Photoshop? Blasphemy. LOL But if that is blasphemy, I am all in.

Dave

PS, I do not have a singular style. If you had to know it was my work, you would have to connect the ideas. Styles are for more commercialized artwork.

 

Edward says..."You can copy their look but you can't copy their process."

Why not? It's just paint on canvass? Granted an amateur like me would have difficulty in doing so, but any accomplished Artist would not have much of a problem.

 

David Bridburg

9 Days Ago

Art forgers make up art just like the old masterworks. I can be done, but against timing.

Dave

 

Edward Fielding

9 Days Ago

You also can't copy the credentials of being a museum collected artist even in say, according to DB above, you hang in a second rate gallery.

.....

Why can't you simply copy a process such as dripping paint on canvas? Because the value is not in the finished piece but in the journey behind the process, and being on the forefront of a movement.

Try giving an artist's talk and saying "I don't know. I saw this other guy do it so I did it. Any questions?" I'm sure collectors will line right up to buy. not.

 

David B says " I feel and think in many ways as you do. But I am not worried about it. "

I don't worry about it but I am confused and somewhat amused. It seems to be almost cheating to do such abstract images and to pass it off as Fine Art.

I am now doing abstract images on my computer (and on paper), etc. But only because I cannot be the type of photographer I once was (because of illness).

Well, I am sure it is a failure on my part to see the significance of most abstract art.






 

Edward Fielding

9 Days Ago

Consider it what is is - non-confrontational decor.

Hotels, offices, businesses, love the stuff because it doesn't cause any controversy.

But it will never reach the heights of a piece created within an emerging movement with all of the theory behind it.

The hotel lobby buyer for a chain of budget hotels only needs to know if it matches the rugs.

 

Don Northup

9 Days Ago

I'm with Robert. While I do a lot of abstracts I am not a fan of the extremely simple abstracts that get so much attention. White canvases, black canvases, a line across the canvas, a simple square etc. etc.

Sure, I can see how a set of such images might appeal to some, but as a single image or two, I don't consider it very artistic at all. In some applications and settings, I am sure it is considered appropriate.

 

David Bridburg

9 Days Ago

Robert,

People said photography was not art. I do not agree with that. But if you take a photograph of Big Dome? Is that the famous Ansel Adams shot. And you try to get Adams light and angle........so?

Dave

 

Edward Fielding

9 Days Ago

If you don't consider it artistic its because you haven't taken the time to learn about the artist, their motivations and process.

Some minimalist artwork is created out the most artistic process possibily. If fact the entire point is to stripe Art (with a capital A) down to its essence.

The buyer knows full well that it is created in a series. But they might only be able to afford or have the opportunity to purchase a signal piece. Same with a museum, they could love to have a complete set but usually, have to settle for a single example.

 

Edward says..."You also can't copy the credentials of being a museum collected artist even in say, according to DB above, you hang in a second rate gallery."

But most abstract artists do not have an individual style. An all white, all black, all red canvass can be done by one and all. It is as if most abstract artists don't have individual credentials.

Some do of course, but most do not. Most can be interchanged with each other.

 

Edward Fielding

9 Days Ago

You can only do the all white canvas once.

 

David Bridburg

9 Days Ago

Ed,

I wish that was true. I only wish.

Edit, Pollock left his splatters behind after 3 years, all he could stand of it.

Dave

 

Don Northup

9 Days Ago

"If you don't consider it artistic its because you haven't taken the time to learn about the artist, their motivations and process.

Some minimalist artwork is created out the most artistic process possibily. If fact the entire point is to stripe Art (with a capital A) down to its essence."


LOL --> That's a crock. I don't need to study an artist, the movement, their motivation, or their process to know if I like a piece or not.

I am interested in art that appeals to me. If it excites me, if it makes me say wow, if it will look good with my decor, if it speaks to me, if it appeals to me etc. etc. If it doesn't do that then I'm not interested in hanging it, period. The only exception would be, if my wife likes it, then we can compromise. :)



 

Edward says..."you haven't taken the time to learn about the artist, their motivations and process."

I am currently watching a documentary about the abstract artist Carmen Herrera (celebrating her 100 years on earth). A lovely old lady who first now is being appreciated for her work.

Yes, it is very interesting to know the personalities of artists some are sane some are pretty close to being insane, some are conservative, some outrageous.

But after knowing all that info it is still the work that is important and not the personality,





 

Ronald Walker

9 Days Ago

Abstract art takes on many different looks and has many different reasons for creation. Taking a fast look at the hard edged abstract piece you have posted. One of the big reasons for this type of work was the exploration of the push and pull of color, in other words the plasticity of space. Traditional art starts on the surface and draws the viewer into the illusion of depth. The concept of foreground, middle ground, and background come from this. Analytical Cubism (Baraque, Picasso) combined these so there was no such thing as foreground, middle ground or background. It was just all surface and yet shallow depth was still created. The style of art you depict attempts to push the space not only on the surface and inwards but also out in front of the surface, this is what is known as push and pull of color (plasticity). Abstraction is an endlessly fascinating thing to study due to it's wide scope and creative innovations.

 

Don Northup

9 Days Ago

I spent several hours in the H.H Bennett museum and was allowed to photograph everything there. I don't have a single Bennett piece hanging. However, I would consider hanging some of the old gear I shot there.

It was a cool experience but it didn't make me enjoy his work more or less than it already did. I would also consider hanging a few shots I made on the Dells strip.

 

David Bridburg

9 Days Ago

AbEx Gen1 proved new very different techniques could make art with very different expressions. Dimensional art without perspective. Art where the audience was controlled. Even if that just meant people shouting crap in person at the canvas. The art got the "crap"!

Now AbEx is more for packaging. It is the pretty pattern very often. The game has long been up with the public. We all get it. It looks good with the couch.

Timing is location, location, location.

Dave

 

Steve Clarke

9 Days Ago

David B - "I do not have a singular style. If you had to know it was my work, you would have to connect the ideas. Styles are for more commercialized artwork."

Yes, that's just OCD - one needs to experiment, push one's own boundaries, mash-up ideas, etc.

Specialisation / 'style' might be a good business plan, but not good for personal, artistic growth.

"Pollock left his splatters behind after 3 years, all he could stand of it." A few hours would have been enough for me.

 

David Bridburg

9 Days Ago

Don,

I do not know much about Ansel Adams. I like his perfect captures. I know he had a lot of duds on film.

He was an explorer who got it. He theorized it and made it happen.

Timing is location, location, location in art that matters.

Dave

 

Edward says, "You can only do the all white canvas once."

Perhaps, but you can do circles, lines, boxes, triangles, colors over and over and over as the majority of abstract artists do (with no apparent originality).

I do NOT deny them their talents. But I do wonder at their originality (which is a key component for a Master Artist). It is as if abstract artists have retreated into themsleves and have given up all interest in the external world.

Now if you want to see really wonderful abstract art...may I suggest
Religious Islamic art which has been typically characterized by the absence of figures and extensive use of calligraphic, geometric and abstract floral patterns.





 

David Bridburg

9 Days Ago

Steve,

That is what I did. Now I am focused on selling it. First came the art.

Dave

 

Chuck De La Rosa

9 Days Ago

Because the value is not in the finished piece but in the journey behind the process, and being on the forefront of a movement.

So what you are saying Edward is that if I go to art school, splatter paint on a canvas, and tell an art speak story about how I came to this technique, I'll be a master? I don't buy into that. There are masters out there that have never been discovered as it were. Vivian Maier is a really good example. We know very little about her. We don't know her motivations. I'm not aware of any interviews, I believe she died shorty after all her work was discovered. But few would dispute that she was a master at street photography. Granted that's an area I'm not a fan of. But I cannot deny how great her work is.

Regarding the notion that getting to know an artist is required to appreciate the art, I don't buy into that either. Moreover it doesn't mater to me. If the work does not "speak to me", I could not care less about the artist. In other words the art has to stand on it's own first before I will look deeper. No amount of reading is going to make me appreciate the work more. I've read a lot about Picasso, but I still don't care for his work. In fact I wish I had not read about him. On the flip side when I saw "The Persistence of Memory" I had to know more about Dali. What I learned about him disappointed me of course, but it did give me a deeper understanding of his work. But I only learned about him because I cared to, because how work stood out and appealed to me at a level other art has not.

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David King

9 Days Ago

When I see non-objective art all I see is design, and much of it awful design really. Without a subject all other assumptions or ideas beyond design are mere speculation. IMO, when a paragraph of text has to be displayed next to the art in order for the viewer to understand the artist's intent then the art has failed as visual art and is merely visual design. I understand that opinion will be unpopular here but it is mine, I own it, and it does not stem from ignorance.

 

VIVA Anderson

2 Days Ago

for 2cents/plain...........MY,shouting,Minimalism ....is pure abstract art .....that is my purpose...the reality is in
my head, the outcome of my abstract mindset, is, minimalism ........and yet..........I combine the two terms, b/c,
some of my work has 'reference' to reality.......no big deal., Cheers.
A very enjoyable read/exchange here............now.

 

Roger Swezey

2 Days Ago

Just wondering

Can ANY art be judged without seeing the original?

 

Ronald Walker

2 Days Ago

From an art historical standpoint, Abstract Expressionism, Minimalism and many other abstract movements have made great impacts on art. Artists react to these impacts either by embracing the movements and seeing where they may lead or by rejecting them in hopes of finding a more profound direction for them. Neither approach is wrong and we live in an era of artistic freedom which has never been seen before. You are free as an artist to pursue your direction as you choose. From a freedom standpoint this is great but also very confusing, causing us to endlessly debate what is art and what is not. Some artist embrace this freedom but may be condemned to produce what ultimately may be considered drivel. Some artist are reactionary but might try to resurrect a style of art that has had its day in the sun and no longer has any real relevance to society. My recommendation is follow your gut and go where your interest lie, let the chips fall where they may.

 

VIVA Anderson

2 Days Ago

yes Roger, one can judge the composition, without seeing the original.....but, otherwise,
well, maybe not..........for me, much interest is in the application of the medium, as seen
via the original....for starters.
And, dare I say, Size Matters...............!
I react differently to small originals, than I do to huge ones.......but, doubt you'd call that
'judging'.........

 

Drew

2 Days Ago

"Communication requires a sender and a receiver.
Without the attention of the receiver, it's just "self-absorbed" noise. "

If there is a sender and a receiver then that makes a society of 2. The sender is then making a social statement. Just at a micro scale.

Ron, I am not referring to the narrow focus you call art history and its relationship to artists but the broader history and the art relevant to the greater community.
Examples: the significance of photography on society or the digital revolution and its effects on cinema.

 

Ronald Walker

2 Days Ago

There is nothing narrow about the impact of these movements, they have affected virtually every nook and cranny of our modern day existence.

 

Joe Burgess

2 Days Ago

Then by your micro-definition, Drew, all communication is a social statement, making your initial retort unnecessary.

 

Drew

2 Days Ago

I don't think so. You put too much significance on art as defined by this art philosophy you call art-history Ron. But hey, no problem. You are willing to discuss the philosophy in a civil manner.

 

Drew

2 Days Ago

"making your initial retort unnecessary."
Yet the conversation continues Joe!


"For whom, for what, was that bird singing? No mate, no rival was watching it. What made it sit at the edge of the lonely wood and pour its music into nothingness?" ~ George Orwell (1984)
Like the mental imagery this induces.

 

David Bridburg

2 Days Ago

Drew,

You are trying to pigeonhole analytics of art as philosophy. I am here to know more.

We will just have to disagree.

Dave

 

Drew

2 Days Ago

Pigeon Hole? LOL I am having a discussion DB.

 

David Bridburg

2 Days Ago

Of course we are having a discussion. I never said other wise.

Dave

 

Ronald Walker

2 Days Ago

I view art as a sort of mirror of our society as a whole, messed up? Free? However one wishes to view it but that is where I place it.

 

Drew

2 Days Ago

"I view art as a sort of mirror of our society as a whole"
Glad you acknowledge this as your view"

"but that is where I place it."
We all have to prioritize what's important Ron.

DB, this may help with your erroneous assessment
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pigeonhole_principle


Pigeonhole principle is a method to not argue a point but to prove a fact. When it comes to art, the definition of art has and existential component that disallows absolute generalization. Pigeonhole principle has no relevance here for the existential component always allows expansion. Thus, there's no point in arguing BUT a discussion expands one's understanding. It also exposes the lack of understanding by the participants who attempt to impose absolutes where none exists.

 

Roger Swezey

2 Days Ago

Ronald,

RE:..."I view art as a sort of mirror of our society as a whole, "

I dare say, there are many truly talented and as significant artists as the great artists of the past, out there, that may mirror/define/and dictate our society as a whole

Artists that are not in what we consider in the traditional mode.

Artists in advertising, motion pictures, video games, what have you

Artists that can not be dismissed simply because they "Sold Out"

 

Joe Burgess

2 Days Ago

"Yet the conversation continues Joe!"

Me thinks the lady doth protest too much.

 

Drew

2 Days Ago

Agreed Roger. The allegation "Sold Out" is just a dismissive outlash usually contrived by the frustrated.

Joe,
Depends on the lady.

 

David Bridburg

2 Days Ago

Drew,

That is specifically what I meant by your references to philosophy, when we are discussing analytics. Or at least my background was in analytics of art not the philosophy of art. I do not know your background. I did not know philosophy of art ever existed.

Dave

 

David Bridburg

2 Days Ago

Sold out, commercial v fine art? But what commercial art and what fine art?

To general.

Dave

 

Drew

2 Days Ago

"Pigeonhole principle has no relevance here for the existential component always allows expansion. Thus, there's no point in arguing BUT a discussion expands one's understanding. It also exposes the lack of understanding by the participants who attempt to impose absolutes where none exists."

Just in case you missed the initial posting Dave.

To Simplify it a little more for you. There is no argument inspite of those who claim there is.

 

David Bridburg

2 Days Ago

I never said there was any argument.

I do not know what art philosophy is. You seem to be always dismissing art philosophy, why dismiss it?

I know a good bit about the analytics of art theory.

Dave

 

Drew

2 Days Ago

"I never said there was any argument. "
Then there is no argument. As was said, no point in arguing.

"I do not know what art philosophy is."
There is always room for improvement.

"I know a good bit about the analytics of art theory. "
Awesome!

ONE more "l" you will have a 4 of a kind.

 

David Bridburg

2 Days Ago

What's you art philosophy?

Dave

 

Drew

2 Days Ago

Maybe you can read about it at another time Dave. You seem to be in an argumentative state. Not interested in arguing nor interested in exploring this subject on this thread. It deserves a discussion thread of its own. I am currently working on an essay that elaborates on the difference between history and art philosophy.

 

David Bridburg

2 Days Ago

You might want to start that thread.

I do not think anyone knows what art philosophy is.

Dave

 

Drew

2 Days Ago

And then again, I may choose to start a thread after the essay is complete. Or not at all. That's my choice.

 

Ronald Walker

2 Days Ago

"We all have to prioritize what is important". So very true Drew.

 

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