Abstract paintings...and other garbage.

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  1. #1
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    Abstract paintings...and other garbage.

    I mean no offense by the title of this thread, just hoping to spur discussion.

    I'll admit it. I'm dense when it comes to art appreciation and I probably am just ignorant to the qualities of abstract art. Or perhaps like all art, there are some good, fewer great, and a whole lot of bad. I usually don't get abstract/installation art but I see galleries/studios full of them, often at hilarious prices. There are a few I've mildly enjoyed, but countless more that I did not. I was just at a gallery walk last friday and 75% of the paintings were abstract and I just can't see the appeal.

    Also the three "abstract" artists I spoke to were either very defensive or shy and responded to my sincere (and polite) inquiries with either hostility or redirecting back to me and my paintings.

    I wonder if anyone shares my feelings, and could direct me to some abstract art/artists that may have moved you.

    Thanks, David

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    Deliciouspeter...don't bother about judging this stuff., Instead get some paint and canvas and actually try to do a good large abstract painting. Try with all your heart and soul to make a really cool work of art that is totally abstract. In my opinion, only then will you appreciate anything about the genre. You may never like it over "realist" art, but you will see that anything that difficult to make good must have some merit. Its kinda like photography. You may not think Photography is art, but it sure is hard to take a good non-boring photograph.

    At least Icarus tried!


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  5. #3
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    In addition to what Kev has said, you should study the history of the twentieth century, especially the first half. You can't fully understand any art without understanding the culture that produces it, and abstraction is even harder because the subject matter is outside the work of art itself.


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    You're not alone, I used to be the same way, even last year I should say. But really, I have to agree with what both of them said. It looks like "Not Art" to begin with, but it is very difficult to do compared to traditional art. Also there is a lot of bad abstract just there is a lot of bad everything else, It's just easier to come across a bad abstract piece because of the reason that it is very difficult. You have to have a lot of patience, and knowledge of color theory and composition to make a truly good abstract piece... And of course practice in this area.

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  8. #5
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    I remember in my art book in school there was a blank canvas with one black square on it that was worth about $35k. The page went on this big spiel about how the artist was trapped and his frustration with the art community bla bla bla. I thought "IT'S A SQUARE".

    I've never understood abstract art, but whenever anyone says that to me I feel the need to defend it simply because of the artistic medium, I just have no idea what to say to them. I wish I knew what it was about abstract art that makes it so special, as I really would like to enjoy it, but dang it I just can’t figure it out.

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    I understand the idea behind abstract art, just not the pricing.

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    Been a while since I hit up the CA.org Forums, let alone reply... but I'm in a posting mood tonight so here we go.

    I see abstract art more as a technical exercise than anything else. As others have said, I myself used to think it was all useless retarded crap... until I read up on it and understood the point and history behind it.

    Nonetheless, even after reading up on it, I have a hard time seeing it as art. The lone exception I can think of is Pollock... and even then I only think of his process as art and the end result as an afterproduct.

    To try and make a visually appealing piece with nothing but a black square and empty canvas is a very challenging feat indeed. However I consider that to be "art" as much as I consider my very own sketchbook renderings of referenced images to be art.

    And for those wondering, when sketch out something directly from photo reference I'm not doing what I consider art, I'm exercising and testing my technical proficiency. That is also what I think of most abstract art as.

    -My work can be found at my local directory thread.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Epitaph of Sanity View Post
    I understand the idea behind abstract art, just not the pricing.
    Pricing is somewhat unrelated to the work itself. With traditional paintings for example, authenticity is much more valuable than skill or subject or whatever else.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kev ferrara View Post
    Deliciouspeter...don't bother about judging this stuff., Instead get some paint and canvas and actually try to do a good large abstract painting. Try with all your heart and soul to make a really cool work of art that is totally abstract. In my opinion, only then will you appreciate anything about the genre. You may never like it over "realist" art, but you will see that anything that difficult to make good must have some merit. Its kinda like photography. You may not think Photography is art, but it sure is hard to take a good non-boring photograph.
    Do what Kev has suggested - you will learn more in one afternoon than a year's worth of thought on the subject.
    It's like making a film without the music, actors and plot - you will be dealing with the raw materials that make the medium unique.
    It is something that sorts the men out from the boys.

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    It's just something to keep slow people busy while they await their own death.
    To give them a sense of purpose, to make them think their entire life wasn't useless.
    Abstract art is just a big case of charity gone wrong for way too long.

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    wheee, an abstraction arguement!

    My favorite part about this arguement is how cyclical it is. The attitude just flip flops. At the beginning of the 20th century up through the 70s almost the same crap was being flung at realist artwork. Its like that thread where everyone was up in arms that people would consider JS Sargent provincial, classist crap. However today Malevich's black sqaure, despite Suprematisms philosophical underpinnings, is reviled as a scam. By the 1950's you were totally behind the times if you were trying to paint in that old realist mode. Infact it was widely believed that the spirit of the time could only be captured with some new form of expression, as the quaint cottages of the social realists couldn't convey the power of the split atom or the devestation the world had suffered at the hands of two world wars. Philosophy aside, it's interesting how difficult it is for some people to see a painting as a thing, rather than a reference to something. Something to be appriciated for its intrinsic qualities, color harmonies, textural nuances, and composition rather than how well it fools our senses into believeing its representation of something.

    The "Art World's" schizophrenic self hating cycle:

    Look at this beautiful painting of a nymph cavorting in the woods. Surely this is the pinnacle of art

    50 years pass

    No...thats weak, provincial, and sexist. Representation is a lie. Non-representational painting is the only true art and the only way to capture the "spirit of our time"

    another 50 years pass

    Non-Representational art is an empty scam, perpetrated by lazy, overly intellectual artists that don't want to learn the skills required to make representational images

    and thus we come to the beginning of the circle again...tomarrows generation will surely react against the rules and structures of academic realism and strike out on "their own path" unaware they're just riding the wave.

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  16. #12
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    You're absolutely right, we should never make the horrible, horrible mistake of non-representational art ever again.
    We now know both options, and one option just sucks. So let's never choose it again and live knowing we made the best possible decission.

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    Oh the glory is you don't get to choose! No matter what you think of it, the next generation or couple of generations are going to make up their own minds based on what they've been trained to think is good and not good. When I say based on, I don't necessarily mean they're going to choose the one you told them was good...infact your assertion in one direction nearly gaurantees movement in the opposite direction.

    Ia Ia Cthulhu Fthagn

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hyskoa View Post
    We now know both options, and one option just sucks. So let's never choose it again and live knowing we made the best possible decission.
    sounds kind of like a defense of abstract art i've once heard

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  19. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cthogua View Post
    Oh the glory is you don't get to choose! No matter what you think of it, the next generation or couple of generations are going to make up their own minds based on what they've been trained to think is good and not good. When I say based on, I don't necessarily mean they're going to choose the one you told them was good...infact your assertion in one direction nearly gaurantees movement in the opposite direction.
    Well then it's this generation's duty to find these people and make them the first to colonize mars.

    But without the spaceship or government support. Or air.

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    kev, elwell, anid, chris and everyone (too many to respond to individually, but I read them and appreciate the response)

    Thanks for the insight and great discussion points. I suppose my post was reactionary to the friday night gallery walk. Since then, I picked up an old Art History textbook to read, and painted a couple of paintings, and I really enjoyed the process, and the finished product.

    Here is an older one. This was painted with a pickaxe, necktie and a turkey baster. I call it "Justification of Form: Part 2: The Awakening of Metabiology: A Retrospective (The Elephant)"

    Sorry that is just an example of some of the wacky titles last weekend. Thanks everyone!

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  22. #17
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    I agree with kev and chris bennett. I especially like rob abeyta jr. I believe he sorta does a mix of abstract paintings and graffiti art.

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    I know that I'm probably just an un-intelligent bum, but I neither really see anything in abstract art. Many of the abstract pieces on museums are there mostly because of the painters name. I've seen a few abstract paintings I liked, one that had some really beautiful red and purple tones. Those are good, in my opinion. But way too many looks like the artist took three paint buckets and splashed them onto the canvas. But, if they just kept at the paintings, the world would be a better place. Apparently a plastic bucket, a pen-sharpener, a giant plastic rainbow and a toy-ufo stuffed randomly together is art. I just don't see 'art' in those. By the way, deliciouspeter, your painting is actually quite nice. Most abstract paintings also have those burning, almost neon colors. But, that's my opinion, and I am in no way right or wrong. I always liked to discuss this topic

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hyskoa View Post
    It's just something to keep slow people busy while they await their own death.
    To give them a sense of purpose, to make them think their entire life wasn't useless.
    The internet is just a big case of charity gone wrong for way too long.

    That was the first thing that came to my mind when I read it. I'm such a dork

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  26. #20
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    Thanks eskanto. One of those square paintings is now my desktop wallpaper

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  27. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by enrigo View Post
    That was the first thing that came to my mind when I read it. I'm such a dork
    No, that's a big case of militairy gone wrong for way too long.
    Only slightly different from charity these days though.

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    As far as the innovation goes, I think its more like a guillotine now than a pendulum. Everything is moving and changing so much faster, its hard to see where the one stops and the other starts. The "divide" between realism and abstraction isn't nearly as interesting to me as the territory where the two overlap.

    Before you come down on it too hard, you also have to appreciate the more subtle impact that this kind of work has had 50-100 years out (in shifting public tastes, giving painters more options, and the like.) Its hard to imagine, for instance, how we might arrive at some of this concept art we dig so much today, if other people hadn't removed some of those initial barriers for us a century ago. As a quick example: I have a real love-hate relationship with this first image, and a decidedly love-love relationship with the second. But who knows? - If the first didn't come along when it did, perhaps people wouldn't have been ready to accept the second when it happened... And that would certainly have sucked, because then we might never have had a chance to check it out.

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  30. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by deliciouspeter View Post
    kev, elwell, anid, chris and everyone (too many to respond to individually, but I read them and appreciate the response)

    Thanks for the insight and great discussion points. I suppose my post was reactionary to the friday night gallery walk. Since then, I picked up an old Art History textbook to read, and painted a couple of paintings, and I really enjoyed the process, and the finished product.

    Here is an older one. This was painted with a pickaxe, necktie and a turkey baster. I call it "Justification of Form: Part 2: The Awakening of Metabiology: A Retrospective (The Elephant)"

    Sorry that is just an example of some of the wacky titles last weekend. Thanks everyone!
    Is that the painting you did? I reckon it's damn good! It works from corner to corner with all the elements working together - the later layers working and answering the early ones. You understand a lot more than you think!! Try one where you are trying to compose something that is balancing elements that are off balance. In other words try getting disperate, foreign elements that are perhaps set to one side to harmonise.
    Here's my attempt:


    Name:  Untitled-1 copy.jpg
Views: 1154
Size:  260.9 KB

    From Gegarin's point of view
    http://www.chrisbennettartist.co.uk/
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  31. #24
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    Nice. Here's my abstract stuff with focus on composition. Nothing special.

    Name:  compositions.jpg
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    Last edited by Farvus; April 16th, 2008 at 04:23 AM.
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  32. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by kev ferrara View Post
    good large abstract painting. .
    Just curious,

    What is a good abstract painting supposed to look like and what does a bad one look like?

    -Andy

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    A good one is one that looks cool, a bad one is one which does not.

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    Some abstract painting's make great textures for 3d models and or characters...lol.
    The ones that do not look like nothing and are just paint splashed on canvas I mean.

    I think people who like abstract like the unknown, they like the unexpected and spontaneous colors and shapes that are put on
    the canvas, maybe thats why so many people love to pay so much for colorful and sometimes odd painting's. Some are appealing to me while others are just there to make a poor artist money..

    Last edited by ResidentSamurai357; April 16th, 2008 at 01:51 AM.
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  36. #28
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    I'll bet you I can find more bad realistic art than bad abstract art.

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    Wow talk about generalizations do some research before you give such a strong opinion about something so broad, specially when you use the words "that's not art" *shudders*, come to think of it i overheard some old bird in a life drawing class last week say digital painting isn't art!!!! i had too gaffa tape my mouth to stop myself from abusing her.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Farvus View Post
    Thanks eskanto. One of those square paintings is now my desktop wallpaper
    You're welcome. The one on the bottom is my favorite. It looks like he spilled a bottle of ink on a dirty napkin.

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