Many people say that abstract art makes no sense. I suppose they probably mean that it doesn’t make any familiar sense that we could easily recognise.
I titled one of my paintings “Makes No Sense“.
What is Abstract Art
Abstract art is about so many different things, but not familiar objects that we experience and know by our normal senses. It does not represent or make reference to recognisable objects from reality.
When we look at any object, our minds very quickly translate that into a familiar object, something that we recognise and understand. A red rose, a yellow sunflower, a blue sky – easy to know what they are. But abstract art, particularly, non-representational art is something different and the mind struggles to interpret it to the familiar.
“Everyone wants to understand art. Why not try to understand the song of a bird? …people who try to explain pictures are usually barking up the wrong tree.” — Pablo Picasso
From our early childhood, we learn to translate everything around us and give it a description. We use our five senses to become familiar with our surroundings and our world.
In a nutshell, abstract art is all about the unfamiliar. Art is the language of emotion and, in many cases, does not use words to communicate and connect with the viewers. But, many of us are not familiar with this type of language and find it difficult to connect with the artwork.
Many people find it difficult to cope with unfamiliar environments. But in many cases giving it time, we may become familiar with that environment and begin to see it differently – not necessarily unfamiliar.
“It doesn’t make much difference how the paint is put on as long as something has been said. Technique is just a means of arriving at a statement.” — Jackson Pollock
How to Appreciate Abstract Art
To appreciate abstract art but not necessarily to understand it, I look at the painting concentrating on the individual elements of colours, shapes, textures and the overall combination of all the elements in that painting.
Abstract art challenges our logical minds to create our own interpretation, thereby stimulating the higher-level areas of the brain responsible for creativity and imagination. Specifically this challenge;
- how to actually see art and how to actually see the world in a new fresh way.
- pushes us and increases our awareness of unfamiliar situations.
- how to remove ourselves from real world and create imaginative responses.
“I am so busy” is a phrase I hear from almost everyone I speak to nowadays. Busy at work, busy at home and busy in everything else. I wonder if being busy is now associated with something to do with feeling self-worth and social status.
Whatever your reasons for being busy, you need to be careful that it doesn’t lead to feeling exhausted, stressed, frustrated and disconnected. Being busy could impact your emotional health. Being so busy could also impact your physical health. For example, headaches, fatigue, heart problems, insomnia, etc.
I am not an expert in the subject but I am sure there are many simple ways to reduce the mental and physical impact of being so busy. One method I know works very well is going for a walk and better still if you take a walk in a park or in a more natural environment.
Art, in general, tells us to slow down. Why? Simply because art connects with our feelings and feelings need time.
Art demands your attention and your time. The simple act of just viewing a piece of artwork can be very effective to take your mind off almost any other subject and attempting to draw you into it; into the colours, the shape and lines. The story within the artwork waiting for you to discover.
Whether creating or viewing, art can relieve some of the stress of being “busy” even though it could be for just a few moments.
One of the reasons for lack of appreciation to art in general but more specifically to abstract art is, most likely, linked to “being busy” in our minds. And the same goes for appreciating almost anything else.
“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” – Pablo Picasso
You don’t have to be an artist to appreciate abstract art or paintings. Abstract paintings are used in many places, homes, offices, public spaces, etc. really to add a beautiful touch to the atmosphere.
And that’s what it is, just a beautiful touch to see or better, to feel.
Does it make sense now?