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Derek Lee

on 28 March 2011

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Transcript of Abstractions

ABSTRACTIONS & REPRESENTATIONS What is Abstract Art? Abstraction indicates a departure from reality in depiction of imagery in art. This departure from accurate representation can be only slight, or it can be partial, or it can be complete. La Scienza Della Laziness (The Science of Laziness) by Frank Stella, 1984. Oil, enamel paint and alkyd paint on canvas, etched magnesium, aluminum and fiberglass. Composition 10 by Piet Mondrian,1939–1942. Oil Paint. Now what does this mean? The basic premise of abstraction - incidentally, a key issue of aesthetics - is that the formal qualities of a painting (or sculpture) are just as important (if not more so) than its representational qualities. FOR AN EXAMPLE A picture may contain a very bad drawing of a man, but if its colours are very beautiful, it may nevertheless strike us as being a beautiful picture. This shows how a formal quality (colour) can override a representational one (drawing). On the other hand, a photorealist painting of a terraced house may demonstrate exquisite representationalism, but the subject matter, colour scheme and general composition may be totally boring. boring. The philosophical justification for appreciating the value of a work of art's formal qualities stems from Plato's statement that:

"straight lines and circles are... not only beautiful... but eternally and absolutely beautiful."

In essence, Plato means that non-naturalistic images (circles, squares, triangles and so on) possess an absolute, unchanging beauty. Thus a painting can be appreciated for its line and colour alone - it doesn't need to depict a natural object or scene. New York by Mino Argento, 1973. Oil and Canvas SIX BASIC TYPES OF
ABSTRACT ART Curvilinear One of the oldest types of decorative art in the world, is strongly associated with Celtic Art, which employed a range of abstract motifs including knots (eight basic types), interlace patterns, and spirals (including the triskele, or the triskelion). Curvilinear abstraction is also exemplified by the "infinite pattern", a widespread feature of Islamic Art. Colour-Related or Light-Related This type is exemplified in works by Monet, that use colour (or light) in such a way as to detach the work of art from reality, as the object dissolves in a swirl of pigment. Geometric Abstraction This type of intellectual abstract art emerged from about 1908 onwards. An early rudimentary form was Cubism, specifically analytical Cubism - which rejected linear perspective and the illusion of spatial depth in a painting, in order to focus on its 2-D aspects. Geometric Abstraction is also known as Concrete Art and Non-Objective Art. As you might expect, it is characterized by non-naturalistic imagery, typically geometrical shapes such as circles, squares, triangles, rectangles, and so forth. Emotional or Intuitional This type of intuitional art embraces a mix of styles, whose common theme is a naturalistic tendency. This naturalism is visible in the type of shapes and colours employed. Minimalist This type of abstraction was a back-to-basics sort of avant-garde art, stripped of all external references and associations. It is what you see - nothing else. It often takes a geometrical form, and is dominated by sculptors, although it also includes some great painters. Unlike Geometric Abstraction, which is almost anti-nature, intuitional abstraction often evokes nature, but in less representational ways. Two important sources for this type of abstract art are: Organic Abstraction (also called Biomorphic abstraction) and Surrealism. Disc brooch, France, 4th century BC. Gold. 15th century panel from Samarkand with Arabesque background. Ceramic. The Grand Canal, Venice by Claude Monet, 1908. Oil Paint Dora Maar au Chat by Pablo Picasso, 1941. Oil Paint. The Persistence of Memory by Salvador Dalí, 1931. Oil Paint. Gestural This is a form of abstract expressionism, where the process of making the painting becomes more important than usual. Paint may be applied in unusual ways, brushwork is often very loose, and rapid. Number 1# (Lavender Mists) by Jackson Pollock, 1950. Enamol Paint. Raval Rojo by Sean Scully, 2004. Oil on linen. Sources:




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