Art quotes

"For the last 20 year period I've been working with ideas conceived as a child." -Red Grooms

Monday, March 18, 2013

What is Abstract Art?

        It all started with phone calls. Would I like to exhibit several paintings at one of my favorite art centers? That was the first call, the second call from another art venue: would I like to give a talk about abstract art. The answer yes to both and, boy, was it a good learning experience.

Through a Kaleidoscope
       I have had work shown at Shiawassee Art Center (SAC) before and the experience was favorable so I knew this show would be fun. A short time later I got another call from SAC. Would I like the bigger gallery? Yes again. So for weeks we put together a larger selection of paintings, framing and preparing a catalog. We were so busy actual painting was set aside for the business of art.

     The talk and demonstration was always on my mind during the show preparation - what is abstract and do I even do abstract? While preparing for the thirty piece show I kept questioning - why do we create? What is real art and all the subsequent unanswerable questions dealing with the philosophy of art.
Lake ice bubbles frozen on Spring morning

       The SAC show’s opening reception included a short talk that I tried not the think about until the moment arrived. The mike felt natural in my hand as I shared the stories about the exhibited paintings. Because most of the paintings in SAC might be considered abstract, this few-minutes talk was a good warm up for the upcoming much longer program.   

       The talk at Jackson Civic Art Association was carefully planned. The folks there welcomed us with enthusiasm and thoughtful questions. I hoped the planning would not make the presentation feel overly worked. Helene and I have a bunch of years teaching experiences and one thing we have learned is to have plenty of material on hand to cover any possible scenario. 
Sunlight thru door peep hole on opposite wall
       We showed photos of interesting images in the real world which can inspire so-called abstract work, see examples here. In art discussions “abstract” is often considered a contrast to “real” visuals. Even in the SAC show I would hear comments such as, “Joel has ventured away from paintings of real scenes.”

       In both talks, the same questions came up, what is the inspiration for the various paintings and how did I plan the work. This is where the paint hits the canvas. Telling stories of the painting process could be another blog entry for another time. Let me know what you think about these or any other issues on the life of the artist in the comments.

       Please check the archive blogs as well. I have come to have a deep respect for art educators especially after talking to art teacher friends. See the Fort Wayne Surprise blog. Did you know that according to Arts and Economic Prosperity Report IV from Americans for the Arts, the arts in our country generate 166.2 billion dollars into the economy every year! 

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