The Art of Abstraction

Untitled No.89
There is a prevailing notion in art these days that representation is vital; that only art which signifies something is deemed to be of value.

This is understandable to some extent: representation (be it literal, allegorical etc.), is integral to many genres. In portraits, it is often both explicit (the obvious depiction of the subject) and implicit (subtle clues as to their character), whilst the world of the Surrealists would be all the poorer without its playful symbolism ; but it is not until we enter the realm of conceptual art that representation is elevated to hitherto unheard of heights, to the point where the actual artistry on offer is of secondary importance.
(Indeed, much of it could not exist without its accompanying verbiage telling us what it all means).

Such devotion to meaning however, need not be applied to all art: a painting, for example, can and should exist without necessarily having to make any kind of statement.

My abstracts are an illustration of this: owing nothing to external sources, they exist in and of themselves, for themselves, purely dedicated to colour and form.
An analogy may be drawn with the improvisational approach of a jazz musician:
A basic foundation is established (colour scheme and background style), where spontaneity and intuition are afforded free reign.
This is not to suggest an absence of discipline, however: after the basic forms are in place, the real work begins, with the application of detail, depth, light and shade dynamics and so on.
The resultant paintings could easily be described as ”Art for Art’s Sake”, unhindered as they are by representational concerns, or by the tyranny of relevance.

This may appear facile but appearances can be deceptive: it is the very absence of representation in my work which increases its scope for viewers to make their own connections and to derive their own meaning.

Welcome to the Art of Abstraction.