In Praise of Abstraction

If we are going to discuss the validation of art by virtue of “skill” or “meaning,” we have to give abstraction a fair shake. To my way of thinking, abstract art is more interesting (if not more beautiful) than realism, because it presents a visual experience that has no precedent in reality. It presents something totally new and is its own reality. Realism refers to a single point in time and space even when it is arresting, compelling and speaks to universals.

But abstraction can be richly layered and full of ambiguity and mystery that yields fresh nuances of visual experience with each viewing. To me, abstract art comprises a rich, multi-dimensional experience because it doesn’t cater to the constraints of time and place. The new visual experience it presents is of value in and of itself, and does not require a literal meaning in the usual sense. As a matter of fact, it may call on the viewer to be a more active participant in the viewing, because it reaches beyond our usual scope of perception and lends itself to the subjective reality of each viewer. Art does not need to refer to political or religious ideologies, or even the continuum of human emotions and experience, to garner its meaning. It simply is, and therein lies its meaning. And to me, abstraction is very compelling in its visual (and emotional) richness.

As for the “skills” part of the equation, Kandinsky (among others) manifested a high level of both imagination and skill that many realists don’t possess. Good abstraction is difficult to achieve, often involving both concept and great discipline that match or exceed many realist paintings.

Abstract art is often devalued because, to many people, it “looks” easy.

NOTE:  I appreciate and pursue abstraction in painting, digital art and photogrpahy.  Above you see two of my water abstracts, whose light and patterns I find mesmerizing.

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About Lynda Lehmann

I'm an abstract painter and photographer with a passion for color and the forms of nature. Even as a child, I felt awed by the wonders of nature. As an adult, I know that my love of beauty has inspired my life. My photography is realistic, but my paintings are abstract. In painting, I'm drawn to subjects of ambiguity and mystery, more than to recognizable scenes, and I love the freedom and musicality of abstract work. To me, it's more fun to see 'what isn't' than to see 'what is.' I have shown my art in numerous juried group and solo shows in the New York area. You can view my paintings, nature photography and digital art at my sites. Please visit my "Peripheral Vision" blog at www.innersights.blogspot.com to see a listing of my art sites and links to my articles and writing about creative process. I'm now selling my art on a wide of array of great Zazzle products, and you can find them at my five shops, with more to come!
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