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  1. #1
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    Explain Abstract Art / Help Appreciate Abstract Art

    Not looking for an arguement here, Abstract Art must have some merits otherwise it wouldn't exist (well, barring a huge multi-national conspiracy).

    I plead ignorance on the matter, ignorance by indifference really. I really have little respect for Abstract Art but again I've never taken the time to look into it. Where to begin really?

    So, it would be nice if this thread could be filled with peoples thoughts about why they like Abstract Art. What do you like about it? What impact does this have? What can you tell us? Explain why, the purpose, the theories behind it, etc etc.

    Pictures, samples, articles and everything would be really appreciated. Show this monkey the best of abstract art ok?

    Last edited by Idiot Apathy; January 20th, 2006 at 06:03 PM.
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    Do you like music without lyrics?


    Tristan Elwell
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    Well I found these right now, by chance
    Explain Abstract Art / Help Appreciate Abstract Art

    Explain Abstract Art / Help Appreciate Abstract Art

    I was looking for movement/dance images and stumbled upon those, I kinda liked them, so I saved them.

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    I think I came up with a pretty decent analogy (for me, anyway) for the comparison between realist art and abstract art.

    First of all let me say I do enjoy many types of abstract art, and I think the reason it works well with a lot of people is because it's so open to interpretation that anyone can read their own meaning into the piece, and feel some sort of connection with it, regardless of whatever intentions the artist may have had.

    Here's my analogy - let's consider that paintings are like types of music. A huge red splattered abstract canvas is like a gong or immense cymbal - people hear a loud crash and turn to look, to see what it was that caught their attention so violently. Soon, the sound has faded away, leaving people in a pensive mood considering what it may have been that caused the crash. A mighty, if brief effort was put into making the crash, possibly with thought on how to best capture the audience's attention.

    A realistic painting, however, is more like an orchestra playing a subtle and many-layered classical melody. People may not even notice the many different elements combining to make the final sound, but chances are it will grab their attention, but in a different way to a cymbal smash. The artist has spent time weaving the melody, figuring out how all the elements fit and flow together. Now, many people may dislike classical music, and they may turn away from the sound sooner, because it holds no interest for them. Other people may stay and listen because the music is soothing or contains interesting instrumental sections.

    It makes sense to me to think of it in that way, even if it is hugely simplifying the issue. There are many areas between those polar opposites though.

    Every type of artwork attracts different people for different reasons.

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    Exactly elwell, I have this print hanging in my living room and I love it.
    Explain Abstract Art / Help Appreciate Abstract Art

    | Myspace | FLICKR The hype is real.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elwell
    Do you like music without lyrics?

    I love you more, day by day.

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    Elwell, yes; but doesn't the music contain rules and guidelines as well? I think I understand your point but could you make it blatantly obvious? .

    bRØk3n_sPiRiT, I do enjoy looking at the first one; but I still can't imagine valueing something like this anywhere near say Bouguereau ya know? Second one I think shows a good composition and a lot of thought put into that. Is that what abstract art is about? The theories behind art, or to put it another way; controlling the viewer instinctually?

    Edit:

    MoP: Yeah, good analogy; but that runs both ways doesn't it? You could the big crash towards a realistic painting as well. Maybe I'm not understanding you right, I'm not sure. I've thought of abstract as more of subtleties, intangible and unexplainable. Is abstract art aimed at our instincts/subconscious perhaps? By the way, do you have any examples that you like?

    tagHeuer: Thanks for example, it's certainly nice to look at.

    Marko: He's got that special something doesn't he.

    Last edited by Idiot Apathy; January 20th, 2006 at 06:02 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Idiot Apathy
    I do enjoy looking at the first one
    Well, then, you could look for more stuff and see if you like any or not, which ones you like...
    I dunno, I don't think its something you have to rationalize so much, I think the first one has composition (in lines, tones and color), rhythm, and a nice flow through the page. But thats not why I like it... or maybe it is, I just know I like it and happened to see those mechanics. There's probably a bazillion things I haven't seen or considered, but the same thing could be said about anything else I guess.

    Just look for more stuff, and read/study, but only if you enjoy doing so. No one is pointing a gun to your head. Just look for stuff you like and investigate on that, no need to rationalize so much.

    Aaandd... figure this out yourself, and ask someone more qualified than me to answer, I just like looking at stuff

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    Abstract art is, as Elwell said, like music without lyrics.

    The problem is that in the music biz, music without lyrics that sounds like crap that a 4 year old could bang out on a cheap toy synth gets brushed aside as the crap it is. For some reason, in the art world, the equivalent to that is glorified, which cheapens the whole abstract art movement.

    So just look at the well done abstract art and you should understand what's cool about it. Basically, it just looks sweet, at least to me.

    Last edited by dfacto; January 20th, 2006 at 06:45 PM.

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    Yeah, thats really what I'm asking for; the cream of the crop in Abstract Art. So much of it is the crap that cheapens the movement.

    You've provided some good examples so far; I'll see what I can find.

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    Sometimes, the difference between figurative and non figurative isn't that apparent. Here it seems they are mixed

    Explain Abstract Art / Help Appreciate Abstract Art

    Look at the spirals in the background. What are those? Would you consider this image representational or non representational?

    (Elwell is this a good example?)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Idiot Apathy
    Elwell, yes; but doesn't the music contain rules and guidelines as well?
    And abstract art has rules and guidlines too. Abstract art and graphic design somewhere have common ancestors.

    For some further information you could always try this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abstract_art
    That should give you something to start. No explanation will make it more "worthy" for you or show you what it is. You must do something on your own. Just expecting some people to feed you "abstract art" won't help much (that goes for many other things). You will just absorb other people's opinions. Try to learn some bits about abstract art and how/where it fits into history/art history. That should help you to understand some parts better. A two paragraph explanation won't help you much.

    I think The Story of Art could give you a nice introduction to that and more. I never saw that book but heared some good things about it. Probably someone who has the book could add their opinion.
    Here the Amazon link for th lazy ones. (It has at least a five star rating)

    And don't stop here. Just take a look around see what you can find.

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    Abstract Art...the same as music without lyrics??? I would disagree!! In my opinion you cannot compare the two. Some people might think that abstract art is just silly strokes with no meaning, but to some peope there is a deeper meaning to them in those abstract paintings. Some of the greatest painters in my opinion with beautiful abstract art are Jackson Pollock,Jean-Paul Riopelle. I'm someone who has a profound appreciation for abstract art, and I think some people try and diminish the resplendence of abstract art, because they simply cannot appreciate it.

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    I don't know enough about abstract art to start deconstructing them (despite a few years spent in a fine arts college) but they feel wierd when I look at them. Can't put that into words. Some feels "right", some feels "wrong", all of them feel wierd.

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    Abstract Art...the same as music without lyrics??? I would disagree!!

    I would say that it is exactly that. What we do here with (wannabe) concept art is attempt to tell a story, or convey something concrete, like a charcter. With abstract art, that defined message is not immediately apparent, even if the artist tried to put it in his work. It's exactly like songs. Imagine an angry song with pissed off lyrics. It will be easy to figure out that it's an angry song. A purely instrumental composition won't tell you up front, but this doesn't mean that it can't get to the point in it's own way.


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    Es läuft mir aus den Ohren, Herz und Nieren sind Motoren

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    a great deal of "abstract" art isn't all that abstract, it just isn't overtly pictorial or narrative. it often deals with exactly the same "artistic" issues as more representative visual art (hue, tone, shape form, light, etc.), but attempts to bypass the distraction of pictorial content so the viewer can perceive these less concrete qualities directly.

    then again, as in the case of Pollock and Expressionism, the point seems to be to "record" an emotional state, definitely not an abstract concept unless you're an automaton. or to explore psychological dimensions without recourse to a narration. or to invite a viewer to see beyond the mundane, as in the "found art" concept.

    to extend the musical analogy, i think of so-called "abstract art" as more like jazz, structured but improvisational at the same time. it can even be lyrical in the hands of a master (i think of many of Picasso's works).

    it's interesting to me that much of what lead to modernism and abstraction in visual arts paralleled the advance of photography, which became the "realistic" medium (though when you think about it, just how realistic are photos, even?), yet despite that, illustration (in some senses a successor to the "realist" painting schools of bygone eras) has survived and flourished.

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    Quote Originally Posted by babydoll8677
    I'm someone who has a profound appreciation for abstract art,
    But evidently not such a profound appreciation of (say) classical music, or you wouldn't have completely missed my point .


    Tristan Elwell
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  20. #19
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    I went through my old commercial shit because I used a lot of abstraction in my approach to logos and stuff in that vein...

    I'm thinking that presenting something at this rudimentary level might help give you a point to start from in attempting to understand the principals behind abstraction.

    This is a news gathering organization. The material is abstracted only to the point that the average person wouldn't fail to recognize the image...

    Explain Abstract Art / Help Appreciate Abstract Art

    This is a monogram/logo using two normally accepted forms of abstraction--the letter "g" and a pen point--to create a third concept...for a writer whose intials are VG...

    Explain Abstract Art / Help Appreciate Abstract Art

    This is an example of a logo carried to complete abstraction because there was no other choice...the client's name is "The Center for Victims of Violent Crime."

    Explain Abstract Art / Help Appreciate Abstract Art


    An abstraction based again on a variety of letterform--CH (The client's corp initials)--forming a "cubicle." They're office planners...

    Explain Abstract Art / Help Appreciate Abstract Art

    This was used as a poster/logo to advertise ALIYHA--the Jewish concept of returning to the homeland...for a Jewish Community Center.

    Explain Abstract Art / Help Appreciate Abstract Art

    Here's an example that's halfway between a cartoon and an illustration, for a newspaper article on shoplifting. The basic recognizable image has been abstracted only partially as to get across the point quickly without confusing the viewer.

    Explain Abstract Art / Help Appreciate Abstract Art

    This is an illustration called "Princess" that is an attempt to convey what is necessary with as little pictorial information as possible.

    Explain Abstract Art / Help Appreciate Abstract Art

    I'm not sure this is going to be any help, but it might be easier than explaining in 16-syllable words what abstraction is and how it works...

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    Ilaekae - Those are good Logos. I think they show your point very well. I can totally see a purpose to using abstract to get to those end results. They also show alot of thought behind them as well.
    Normaly abstract work comes across to me as lacking in thought a lot of the time. So to see it put to thoughtful and intelligent use makes me think of it differently.

    Have faith, these things should never be easy.

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    Ilaekae,

    I love your logo design.

    Ilaekae makes a good point. In another thread he explained that illustrators and all commercial artists are basically visual problem solvers who's job is to communicate an idea as efficiently and effectively as possible. I believe that the very best visual problem solvers are artists who are willing to apply unconventional solutions when needed. To do this, you have to be willing to expand your visual vocabulary beyond realism. You don't have to like everything you see but you should at least keep your eyes & your mind open to it.

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    Read opinion with is quite interesting, i mostly agree what he says:

    http://www.artrenewal.org/articles/2...ract/ross1.asp

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    it's one of the least bad articles on arc, though i still disagree with lots. for instance,i disagree that all abstract art is simply about the visual product and communicates nothing.

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    Ilaekae: I spy abstract boobs!

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    I stuck those plump little suckers in there just for you, MoP...



    BTW...just one of the logos I posted (shattered red circle) proves that 90% of the article posted by Xaya verges on elitist bullshit...

    Last edited by Ilaekae; January 22nd, 2006 at 03:17 AM.
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    well the art renewal center isn't exactly the best place to find a, let's say, non-partisan discussion on abstract art.

    I'm not a big fan of abstract myself, generally speaking. I do see things I like now and then, though most of it doesn't do much for me. I admit to being one who likes there to be some kind of story in the pictures I look at (and so here I am at CA). I don't flat out dismiss abstract, though I do feel it's overhyped when I go to a museum and the only stuff in the contemporary wing is abstract and post modern art. Gives contemporary realist fine artists a bad name if you ask me.

    As to music analogies, well, its kind of doable and kind of apples and oranges. I was having a related indepth discussion (from the music side) just the other day, and I think it's easy to make bad comparisons between the two. One thing I think you can say, though, is that both have levels of accesability. This is something I definately feel with music. You can relate to certain things easier, and have to learn to hear the more ambient or complex before you can understand or enjoy it. There have been many records I've bought that sounded like so much random noise to me the first I heard them, though after several listens I began to get inside it.

    But just like free jazz or grindcore are not for everybody, no matter how much they listen, neither is abstract art. Don't feel like you have to like it just because other people do, and don't feel that it makes you better or worse of a person that you don't. If you give it fair thought and consideration and decide that you still don't get it, so what? Good for you for using you brain and making up your own mind. Hey, who knows? Maybe ten years from now you'll decide that you do like it afterall.

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    Well, when talking about painting, one must realize that the subject is not what was painted, but the way the colors, shapes and textures are organized in the bidimensional surface.

    It doesn´t matter how well you know anatomy, if you don´t make a nice composition, wich includes the use of those terms i used above. I´m not saying anatomy is not important, it is. What i´m saying is the important subject of a painting are those related to painting.

    No matter if your motiffs are mitological beings, cyborgs scenes, gnomes, poor workers or none of these, what makes your work beautifull is how you use the paint (or the pixels) on the canvas.

    Said that, i must say that frequently a bad painting is consider interesting by someone because it´s about something this person likes. For example, waterfall on the country, nice manga robots and girls, horses runing free... Those could be bad or well painted, but that´s not what many people are looking for, they aren´t looking at the painting, they are looking at the subject of the image.

    To understand abstract art is not that hard when you are not looking at a subject, but at how well (or bad) the artist used color, shape and texture to create the image. It´s the same thing in non-abstract, but in this case you just don´t have something you can recognize to distract you from the importante issue: Painting.

    So, next time you look at a great concept design here at CA, don´t go thinking so much about "how cool it would be to drive a car like that", instead pay atention on how well the artist used color, shape and texture to create that cool image. If you do that you are in a nice patch to understand abstraction.

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    There are many things that can play a role for good art, and many are not visible on the surface. For instance the environment the artwork is in can play a role, and an image that makes sense in an exhibition can look dull as a reproduction. You can hardly approach a piece of art as it is, because you will probably compare it to what you've seen before and what you expect of it. So if you don't "get" abstract art, maybe you'll learn to appreciate it later, maybe you won't. I guess you do that anyway, but i suggest you look at everything art related, books, exhibitions, documentaries and so on. It's like listening to music, some people listen to the radio and some people hunt rare cd's of obscure artists. And if something works for you, it doesn't really matter if others like it or not.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jens
    This evolution is so important in the history of art. Because of this evolution we can no do whatever we want. Including calling giant boobmonsters art. For example: consumption as art (popart), the artist as actor (body art, performance), meditation as art (rothko, kandinsky), entertainment as art (conceptart).
    to be fair, it was duchamp's readymades (and suchlike works) that had a bigger influence than abstract painting. abstract painting was, still, painting afterall.

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    absolutely.

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