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For me, a big realization came when I saw that every image was the result of editing. A landscape or portrait or madonna and child- all edited out from a larger "picture" or arena.

A close look at a Franz Kline painting is a revelation of skill and this idea of editing and adjusting.

The reason I'm fascinated by this is that it seems to drive us to getting an essence into the material image that has no substance. It's like trying to capture the immense forces that created the hills in a landscape by rendering the hills as result of those forces instead of getting the contours visually right.

2 months ago• Like

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Joel Kahn • Check the links on my profile to see examples of my algorithmic math-based output. How do you think my work fits with these ideas about abstraction?

2 months ago• Like

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Peggy Kerwan • Thanks for all of this input. As a fairly new artist (6 years) who loves color, movement, texture, I paint mainly whimsical interpretations (all subjects and mediums). I share my art and others' art with many non-artist friends, several of whom struggle to "get it" when it comes to abstraction. I must say I'm not great at "explaining" it. Your comments have made me feel better able to do so. I especially like your comment, Hufreesh, and can't wait to share the slap with my buddies.

2 months ago• Like

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Catherine "Cathy" Shapiro • i'm a wordsmith too, so I love Stephen's commentary. Abstraction is like love ....and that's just as complex! Art itself is akin to the act of catching lightning in a bottle; You can't do that no matter how hard you try. :)

2 months ago• Like1

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Chris Myers • I could not find a way to edit a previous post with a URL that I will stop using, so that post is now gone. I am switching over to http://cribet.zenfolio.com for open edition artwork. I did not delete the post because this was not an interesting discussion! I find it very hard to classify a lot of my work and end up calling it abstract, but I do not really know if this is accurate or not. The question of what is abstract and what is not is always on my mind.

I guess I can define a couple things that help me decide if I should tag an image abstract. These are hardly definitions for abstract across all media, but they help. For my own works if their content is no longer clearly derived from the actual physical subject of the photograph and becomes more an expression of form or a fundamental geometric shape, then I call them abstract. I am less certain if there are those same forms and geometric shapes in the art, but the content is clear. My gut says that if mentally my imagination gets stirred up and I see other worlds and stories in images, then they are abstract. I do see the same sometimes in the oak tree portraits or fungi work that I do as well, but that is on a different level.

new online gallery: http://cribet.zenfolio.com

2 months ago• Like

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Jill Campbell • For me it is always important to try to keep some sort of connection or truth to the original subject - so it is often about trying to find some kind of balance between representation and abstraction. My aim is to develop a pictorial language which will enable me to make visible my own experience of being in the world in a way that has a universal sense and so can be communicated to others. Removing any obvious references to observed subject matter mean the paintings do not operate as windows.They become painted surfaces built with marks and colour that represent my personal expression of the relationship between self and the world.

2 months ago• Like1

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Stephanie Smith • It's great to see all of these comments! I recently participated in an abstract exhibit, where the curators asked us all to write a description of why/what/how we perceive abstract art - I'll start with my own writing, and if there's some interest, I'll keep adding other writings from the other artists. Just like this discussion, they ideas that have been flowing down from this one exhibit are eloquent and thought provoking.

The artists of the Renaissance did not invent human anatomy, but made strides to understand it by looking to and reflecting on information outside of what convention allowed. Similarly, abstract art is not a step out of reality, but rather a step into a greater reality. Creating and studying abstract works, is what examining a new species of exotic flower, excavating for ancient fossils, or mapping the inner apparatus of the human body is. Sometimes these acts are not so much beautiful as odd, or even gruesome; our imagination never truly anticipating their fragile existence. Yet, when our eyes fall upon them, their untamed presence provides a mind-altering experience. Observing their form, color, and behavior, augments our perspective of the natural world. Artists have long owned the resourcefulness to bring to forefront, forgotten, or veiled certainties - by providing intimate reports on compelling, but pre-existing realities.

1 month ago• Like2

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Jeffery Rowe • I believe art and the process of making art are the cultural DNA that makes us who and what we are, as individuals, a community and a society. While there are many endeavors that are rooted in creativity, to be considered "art" I feel the work has to speak to the audience in an intimate and primal way, if not it becomes just decorative. I am interested in exploring the notion of chaos and order and their relationship. That is why I introduce pseudo-geometric forms and lines in my work. My primary goal is to get the audience to think, and consider something they may not have considered. I occasionally try to provoke the thinking/questioning process with titles that may not be obvious choices. I also use hints of representational and symbolic elements in primarily non-representational pieces in an effort to challenge notions of reality. I tend to think that we compartmentalize our worlds into easily digestible boxes and by doing so edit out essential elements of the things we are boxing up. Once this is done we tend to believe these are absolute truths without further consideration. I hope to stimulate people into reconsidering these "truths". The world was flat and then it was round and now it is flat again. Art is a gift that allows us to accept these inconsistencies because our human realities are primarily a function of our perspective. Art aids and alters that perspective. I do not possess the arrogance to think I can necessarily alter that "reality" but , I may be able to influence the perspectives.

1 month ago• Like

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Stephanie Smith • A quote from a fellow artist - Alexis Mclean www.alexis-mclean.com

From Abstract Views Artists' Statements 2012

I consider all creation to bea na abstraction. I strive to let intuition and emotion flow into form when I paint. Defined images may appear although the whole comes from subconscious layers and raw emotion. The moment weh our inner cauldrons boil over and we leap into the void is already unique. We all relate to the sensations of being human, raw passion, loss gain, hoy...but this blank canvas underneath, the familiar human emptiness that arouses us to action because the only other option is death by statsis. This provokes me.

21 days ago• Like1

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Tony Reynolds • At one point in my scattered art education I heard or read that abstract art, perhaps it was more modern painting, was an attempt to create a new thing, a real object, not seen before. The painting was not to be understood as a window representing anything else (reality, emotion, etc) but rather that it was a thing of its own identity. Does this ring true?

20 days ago• Like

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Conn Ryder • Eegads ! To whom is it necessary that we provide this one all-encompassing definition of abstract art???? What an ominous task . . . . .tackled by a myriad of artists that have come before us . . . .and still no universal concurrence (that I’m aware of, anyway). It seems to me that the term “abstract” is/was to art, what “alternative” is/was to music (although even more wide-ranging). And under that umbrella term resides countless theorized sub-classifications to further describe the innumerable approaches to art (and the outcomes thereof) that fall under the canopy of “abstract.”

While it’s fun and thought-provoking to toss about various notions for the sake of discussion, for me personally, I don’t feel the necessity to do anything other than attempt to communicate the whats, whys and hows of my own work . . . and only then to those who are inquiring. (If someone told me it was their duty to educate me on the sport of boxing so that I might understand and appreciate it, I’d tell them to sod off because I prefer to remain blissfully ignorant!)

So for those who inquired, I would say my approach is to attempt to know my craft (see a great description from Brian Sommers above), know my materials . . . toss it in a pot (me . . .the vessel) . . . . .stir in a healthy dollop of emotion, a pinch of experiential and observational impact . . . . . and hope it manifests on canvas as something

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that resonates with me . . . . .and ideally, with someone else too.

Conn Ryder http://www.connryder.com

20 days ago• Like1

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Tony Reynolds • @Conn Ryder. I think the bigger purpose of this discussion is to explain what abstract art is to ourselves. Art (at least to me) is visceral but it is also cognitive at least at some level. The more we understand what we are involved in the more deeply we can engage.

19 days ago• Like1

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Conn Ryder • @Tony Reynolds -- Thank you for sharing your understanding of the purpose of this discussion with me. My comment was in response to Pete's initial statement in which he writes that abstract art will mystify some "therefore, it is necessary to define it, so that the viewer may decide for himself what is real and true." So I was addressing the notion of defining abstract art for the "viewer", and would reiterate my personal opinion that the whole of the term "abstract art" is too sweeping (or as Pete wrote "complex"). Therefore, while I understand artists enjoying a discussion about defining abstract art, when it comes to the viewer, I generally only strive to explain my own art to those with an open ear. Now, if someone said to me "I don't understand abstract art" and I found the person open to learning more about it, then certainly I'd attempt to share some explanation (even though I would have to clarify that artists' approaches, intent, message, etc. are as unique as snowflakes). But if a person said "I don't like abstract art" and I didn't sense they were open for it, I wouldn't personally feel it is necessary to change (or expand) their thinking). http://www.connryder.com

19 days ago• Unlike 2

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Lorraine Fossi • My work fluctuates between Abstraction and Landscape. I explain: Landscapes have always given us the freedom to enjoy dreamlike sequences back into the so-called real world. Abstract works are the tangible way to express the unreal. And they do so while awakening our consciousness; revealing the hidden by dismantling our own conventional and distorted views.

18 days ago• Unlike 3

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Sue Berce • I am a docent at Milwaukee Art Museum ( MAM) and give a ton of tours. I take everyone to the Contemporary Galleries first and have some standard thoughts...if you can say, "I don't get it, I could do it myself...it's about something!"

Motion and emotion...that's me in my work.

18 days ago• Like

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Herbert Murrie • When I'm asked, what is that or what are you trying to say, My pat answer is, look at it like you would look at a landscape. Does it move you, do you see something beautiful or ugly, is there any emotion that you feel when you look at this painting. I do and that's why it 's here for you to look at. Music is related to abstract in that you feel something, good bad or indifferent when you here it.

17 days ago• Like

Peter Dranitsin • Thank you everyone for such a great participation in this discussion about Abstract Art. I am really interested in reading your thoughts on this subject matter!

15 days ago2

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Liz Doyle • mmmmmmmmmm thought provoking

I tried to start adiscussion just now on similar lines (does it have to be pretty / balanced...) but got bogged down in a technical glitch with adding a link - oh well - I'm just learning here

Thanks for this discussion

14 days ago• Like

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Artist Arnold McDowell • Abstract is " ABSTRACT " it all come from A Old Man like Me = " Ab " was His Name and He Stract His Art Burch that had paint on it on A Painting that He Just Painted; it was A Landscape; So he "Stract" it Some More and said to His Sefl; " The Painting Looks A Lot Better; So what can I Name this New Painting ? He was Painting Out Side and went it His House; And Ask His Wife; She said I Like it too " Ab " so you just " Stract " it with Your paint Burch; YES; and She said Well Lets Call Your NEW Painting " Ab-Stract ".... " Ab " ; Was My " Great, Great, Great, Great "Grand-Pal" from The Appalachian Mountains; So thats how " ABSTRACT " got it Name; And She Help Name " The Great Smoky Mountains " Too; Artist Arnold McDowell at www.arnoldmcdowellart.com I LOVE to Paint and I like to Paint " Abstract Art " ; It is in A World of Art By its " Self " thanks Arnold.

12 days ago• Like

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Sue Berce • Here's the thing with me....in five years...four major surgeries, husband died, cancer, I almost died twice in 2011...no art training, but art spewed forth, first a tad realistic..then with every series of ten to twelve my head shifted...abstraction becomes real then disappears until it resurfaces...we have no control, really.

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Diane Mignon Morgan • The term "abstract art" is a generic term for anything that does not equate to realism. Historically abstract artists concentrated on an "aspect" that they wanted to convey in a painting or sculpture that was not possible with realism. I think with most of us today it is our own personal perception of a particular environment or feeling that brings us to exaggerate colors, overstate lines and forms to evoke our "own" personal emotion into the painting. If you explain this to people looking at your art they will be able to grasp it better. When someone is looking at one of my paintings I always ask them "How does this painting make you feel?" Abstract art may be complicated in form or execution but it does not have to be hard to understand. It is just an expression of the artist albeit overstated at times.

9 days ago• Like4

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Bryan Azevedo • when i get approached and some one tells me to define my art work i usually reply "there is nothing to explain". i feel the emotions people feel out of seeing my work in person is park of the magic in it. i mostly play with light, color and texture, but then again who doesn't....my works are based mostly on past emotions and experiences, and to have other find their own emotions in my work makes it all worth it to me.

8 days ago• Like1

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Artist Arnold McDowell • I Love " Abstract Art " and To Us Mountain People in East Tennessee; its NOT to Complex to Explain; When " Ab " My Great Grand Pal; painted The First One; He said I Like it; Its Like " Chicken Soup " The More I Put in it The Better it Looks; I am just A Old Painter; That Likes To Help All The Young Artist get all the Help thay Need To be A Good Artist; You-al can See My New; Abstract Painting Name of it is " Four Grasshopper's Singing to the Moon " at www.arnoldmcdowellart.com Abstract Art is ABSTRACT; Lets All injoy it and Eat More " Chicken Soup " as We Paint it; thanks Artist Arnold McDowell.

7 days ago• Like1

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Brad Cole • I think trying to explain Abstract Art as an entire discipline is more complicated than an Artist explaining the motives and choices made concerning their own work. I think an Artists intentions are the key factor when we describe to our viewers what Abstract Art is. For instance my motives are to challenge the human tendency to want to classify, and "put things in a box" even though my work is based 90% on primal instinct. Others motives might be to translate the idea of smell through visual stimulus. I think that because people are so determined to put everything into a category it's difficult for many to grasp the idea that Abstract art is most often manifested by creating through an individual Artists personal lens. So many interpretations and only one category - Abstract Art hah!

5 days ago• Like3

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Ursula E. Rettich • I do not agree with Bryan, Quote " there is nothing to explain" There is so much to explain - only words are not enough, that is why we paint in abstract, we see so much more then what everyone else is seeing, so we artists try to bring it out in and an "abstract" way. Not the incidental way of poring paint and see what comes out - no, we struggle and go beyond to try to explain what we see and feel in colour and shape and emotion

4 days ago• Like1

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Bryan Azevedo • Ursula - i think you need to reread my comment. I personally let the viewer's imagination take the course it wants on it's own instead of directing them in the way i think it should go. And to be completely honest, I never struggle with paintings, they come naturally to me (i'm blessed for this). I just prefer to have people see my works and go on their own voyage. I like to think of it as I build the land and you are your own tour guide.

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Ursula E. Rettich • Sorry - I sometimesjust in my own world


Category: Abstract

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