Abstract ArtTable of Content Introduction: Understanding Abstract Art (slides 1-12) Part 1: What is Abstract Art? Objective Non-Objective Part 2: Realism vs. Abstract Part 3: Philosophies Abstract Formalism (Classical/Intellectual) Abstract Expressionism (Romantic/Emotional) Abstract Expressionism - Noun vs. Verb Part 4: Roots of Abstraction Part 5: Abstract Formalism - Significant People Part 6: Abstract Expressionism – Significant People
Introduction • I hate abstract art ! • Why ? • What if all you had to listen to was Classical Music – would you miss out? • What if all you had to look at was Realistic art - would you miss out? • Can you relate art and music ? • Realistic Classical Music • Abstract Rap
What are some parts to music? Chorus Verse Beat, rhythm Tone, notes etc…. What are some parts to art? Repetition Content Movement Color Composition
Since abstract art first appeared, many people had difficulty understanding and struggled to accept it as art. • If you are one of these people – don’t worry. This is an attempt to explain how to understand and appreciate abstract art. Willem de Kooning, “Woman V” 1952-53
Understanding abstract art is in the eye and spirit of the beholder – YOU • Most people say that no matter what mood you’re in, you can look at a piece of abstract art and still be able to relate to it in some way – • Everyone brings their own unique interpretation to the abstract art. Just like finding images in clouds
How to look at abstract art. Through a simple meditative practice, the viewer (you) take an active part in creating the meaning of the artwork. Try this method • Simply sit back – close your eyes, relax – slowly open them and just stare at the artwork. • Don’t think – just stare…stayin the present moment. • Ask yourself – what do you feel? Is it sad, angry, excited etc…. • Ask yourself – why does this work make you feel this way? Is it because of the colors, lines, space, etc…. • Now – look at it more closely, can you put a concept, story or meaning that is personal to you in this work through relating the elements of the art with your life?
Abstract art is all about what the artist feels and what mood they might want to portray. • Let me tell you about my college abstract expressionalism painting experience……………….
Draw from life…. • The word “abstract” simply means to “draw from”. Abstraction draws from a life’s experience of real and imaginary images, from knowledge and feelings, from emotion to devotion, the simple and the complex, and mixes it with skill, discipline and excellence, to create expression from the human spirit. When you look at abstract work, don’t clamor for an image you can identify. • Wait for a moment, let the work “speak” to you and allow you a glimpse of what the artist was thinking, what he or she was feeling and what the artist wants to say. Sometimes it’s just your reaction to colors, or specific shapes, or an overall texture, that will be the voice. • Our brains are wired to learn through association. In order to make sense of the world we need to connect the new information with our past experience or memories. Let the elements (line, shape, color…) guide you to this connection by responding to the emotions first that they bring to you. • I believe one also can learn to acquire an understanding and appreciation of abstract art, as much as one needs to acquire understanding and appreciation of the classics.
ImpactA note from an abstract artist. • I just wanted to drop a line again and let you know how much my patients and I are enjoying your painting. I am a clinical psychologist. Your painting has become a spontaneous marvelous ink blot with people trying to see as many different things as possible in it. I’ve been impressed with the playfulness and creativity. Thank you again for this wonderful addition to my practice. It’s taken on more meaning than a painting on the wall.” • What a wonderful testimony to the power of abstract art. This is precisely where the beauty of abstract art lies. The color, the texture, and the form do not resemble anything the viewers are familiar with, but instead prompt the audience to create a meaning in their imagination. • The responses to the same painting will be as varied as the individual internal worlds creating them. Therefore the question of “understanding” of abstract art is pointless. It is not intellectual or objective. It is purely emotional, subjective, and personal.
Part 1 What is Abstract Art?
What is Abstract • Any art that is not Realistic George Bingham, The Fir Traders Descending the Missouri, 1845 Thomas Eakins, The Chess Players, 1876 - America
It is……….. • an exaggeration of one or more compositional elements: Value • Line Shape Texture Space Form Color
Types of Abstraction • Objective – artwork with recognizable images. Matisse, The Blue Nude, 1952 Picasso, Head, 1960
Non-objective – artwork with no recognizable images Autumn Rhythm (Number 30), 1950 Frank Stella, (The Science of Laziness) 1984,
We are in such a period now with the advent and growing popularity of academies. Others stand by modernism in all forms of abstraction, from the absurd to the popular, pledging never to return to those staid disciplines of yesteryear. • Real abstract art ( somewhat of an oxymoron ) flourishes somewhere in between. Understanding abstract art is not complicated. Once you get past the void of decorative arts and the volume of voices who claim “everyone is an artist,” you will discover a rich tapestry of emotion and thought that comprises abstract art.
Realism presents the viewer an artist’s interpretation or representation of the world in its complexity and simplicity. • Abstraction presents the viewer an artist’s reaction to the world in its complexity and simplicity. • Realism expresses the outer world and abstract expresses the inner world. • Realism mimics the outer world in a variety of styles and techniques whereas abstraction expresses the inner world in a variety of styles and techniques. • Realism hopes to answer “what is it?” whereas abstraction hopes to answer “what is it saying?”
Part 3 Let’s go deeper… Philosophies of Abstract Art
Before we begin… • Think of the two different kinds of rap music. • Rehearsed • Free Style
Philosophies • There are two main concepts of abstract art. • Abstract Formalism - Relies on the formal qualities of composition and is produced with much thought and preplanning. Classical / Intellectual – What is important is the product, end result. Often resulted in art theories. • Picasso (Cubism), Cezanne, Mondrian, Op Art … • Abstract Expressionism – Relies heavily on emotional impact, intuition and is often spontaneous. The artists often starts with just a concept or idea and improvises as he produces the art. Romantic / Emotional – What is important is the process. • Jackson Pollack, Jane Frank, Mark Rothko, Robert Motherwell…
Abstract Formalism • Picasso, Mondrian, Piet Mondrian, Composition with Yellow, Blue, and Red, 1921, oil on canvas, 72.5 x 69 cm, Tate Gallery. London. Picasso, Woman Playing Mandolin
Abstract Expressionism Jaskson Pollock, "Lavender Mist" from 1950 Elegy to the Spanish Republic, 70, 1961Robert Motherwell (American, 1915–1991)
Noun vs Verb • Noun • Abstract Expressionism – style developed by certain artist (see roots of Abstraction). Mainly non-objective, improvisational work. • Verb • Art work can be abstract, objective and have more emphasis on expression.
Part 4 Roots of Abstract Art
In the late 19th century the traditional European concept of art was the imitation of nature which was abandoned in favor of imagination and the unconscious.
What caused it to happen? • Some say the concept was influenced by Russian artist Wassily Kandinsky around 1910. • Others say the movement began in New York when people stopped tolerating the social realism art, produced after the WWII (1947) and instead switched to abstraction.
Part 5 Abstract Expressionism Significant Artists
Significant People Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944) • He is considered one of the “inventors” of abstract painting. He began painting realistic but evolved into abstract art. • He believed in what he called the “psychological and spiritual effects of color, developing an art form in which shapes and colors alone became the important quality. • “Painting should represent a mood not illustrate an object.” Wassily Kandinsky’s “Blue Paintin” (1922)
Significant People (cont’d.) Willem de Kooning (1904-1997) • Born in the Netherlands and later moved to Manhattan in 1927 • Became friends with art critic John D. Graham and painter Arshile Gorky who got him started with painting abstraction • Became famous for his impact on the abstract expressionism movement in the 1940’s and was recognized as a leader of it in the 1950’s Willem de Kooning (1975)
Significant People Jackson Pollock (1912-1956) • Moved to New York to study at the Art Students League • Worked for the Federal Art Project from 1938-1942 • Invented the “drip” technique • Artist of the most expensive painting in the world in 2006, “No. 5” (1948), that sold for $140,000,000 Jackson Pollock’s “Blue Poles” (1952)
Significant People (cont’d.) Franz Kline (1910-1962) • Recognized as a very “spontaneous” painter, focusing not on figures or images, but rather on brush strokes and use of the canvas • Most famous for his black and white paintings, which some say reference to Japanese calligraphy • Most modern architecture is said to be modeled after Kline’s works Franz Kline’s “Painting Number 2” (1954)
Significant People (cont’d.) Fuller Potter (1910-1990) • Painted landscapes and portraits until he met Jackson Pollock in 1950 and permanently changed his style of painting to abstract • Never used the “drip” method like Pollock did, but instead put a lot of paint on the brush at once and applied it liberally and aggressively to the canvas Fuller Potter (1969)
Part 6 Abstract Formalism Using one style of abstract formalism – Cubism - and two examples of work inspired by Cubism.
Significant People Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) • Pablo Picasso, born in Spain, was a child prodigy who was recognized as such by his art-teacher father. • Recognized as the leader of Cubism. Influenced by Einstein’s Theory of Relativity • Wanted to truly represent 3 dimension on a 2 dimensional surface. • Periods: Rose, Blue, Analytical, Synthetic Pablo’s Picasso “Dora Maar Au Chat” (1941)
Other People Alexandra Nechita’s “Wine Taster” Alexandra Nechita (1910-1990) • She was born in Communist Romania. • Considered a child prodigy by art critics, she has created a visual language of her own in a modern abstract expressionist and cubist manner and creates unique, masterful, dynamic compositions. • With her innate sense of color, she transfers images of what she sees, what she imagines, and what she dreams, to large canvases with sensitivity, boldness, and a totally uninhibited freedom. • She is completely comfortable with all media. Alexandra Nechita’s “Know Yourself”
Other People Noel Cole (b.1957) • Art teacher since 1980 • Inspired by Alexandra Nechita – developed this piece for lesson/ Noel Cole’s “Clara and Jason” (2001)
Result/Conclusion What happened in the end? • There really is no specific starting date of abstract art, much less an ending date • The movement, in all, has been over, but abstraction is now looked upon as just another equally beautiful form of art • There are many artists that still create abstract art today, and now they have taken the ideas of it and applied it to other things, such as architecture
Result/Conclusion(cont’d.) What were the lasting effects? • Abstract paintings and art have influenced many people to not feel like they just have to paint portraits and landscapes, but that they can just paint what they feel and make their work actually mean something to them • There are now tons of buildings, bridges, stairs, monuments, etc. that have been created with an abstract theme. Architecture as a whole has changed incredibly since abstract art was introduced.
Result/Conclusion (cont’d.) Abstract Architecture
Where did it happen? “New York City”
Look at Abstract art • Like finding images in clouds
Links • http://drawsketch.about.com/od/drawinglessonsandtips/a/abstract.htm(more on music and getting started with abstraction) • http://www.artchive.com/artchive/abex.html • http://www.artlex.com/ArtLex/a/abstractexpr.html • http://www.ibiblio.org/wm/paint/tl/20th/abs-expr.html • http://www.biddingtons.com/content/pedigreeabstract.html • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abstract_expressionism