Friday, January 13, 2012

Is Abstract Art Really Art?

Appalachian Spring Study 2009
 Abstract art, 
not a favorite of the retail masses, is my favorite of all visual art. In putting together my websites and building my brand, I've learned that I must differentiate and fill a need. Currently, I offer abstract and traditional paintings, in markets overflowing with really good art of all genres.

Perhaps we have to grow into abstract appreciation rather than having it grow on us. The imagery may not be recognizable, requiring our mental engagement to understand why we are either drawn into, or repulsed by, abstract works. Abstract art conveys the artists' psyche, bliss or torment, as no other genre will. This review of a recent de Kooning retrospective, by Tom Ferrara, offers an interesting perspective on his art de Kooning at MoMA Review. Be sure to read the "didn't get it" comment, too.

Calder - link
 Though I don't actually have a favorite work, Rothko is a favorite painter, along with Kandinsky, Mondrian, and Miro. Alexander Calder mobiles are child's play to wonder over. After years of fascination with all the European Impressionists and love of Van Gogh, I'm ready to admit I love abstract art. It's easy to appreciate Impressionism with it's easy on the eyes colors, recognizable forms, and primarily happy themes of intimacy. Abstracts, however, can be difficult, a tough love.

Sunset on the Pier 2011
I've painted a tremendous number of small abstract acrylic art studies to populate my new websites over the last few months, and begun to produce larger traditional oil paintings for my new domain gallery site. Days of painting on the beach are drawing to an end as my inventory grows. I have a dozen more to upload now. It's been a state of pure bliss for me to spend hours on the shore, lost in my abstract depictions of beautiful Tampa Bay. But is it art? Gail Kent at Fine Art America

Three larger oil paintings are nearing completion: a hillside harbor view; a mountain lake, and a mountain dirt road in Fall. These beautiful colorful images, somewhat impressionist style, painted with palette knife and a little brush work are definitely fine art. No question. The small field studies I'm offering on my FAA site will ultimately become larger studio traditional oil paintings, as well. But is it art bliss? 

Forest Oil Study from 2005

My traditional art is fun to create, and challenging when there are color or composition issues to resolve, but it isn't my bliss.  I believe my two styles are transitioning into a new mix of the genres. Artists who paint in both styles will often say their traditional work is just to prove they have the skills coupled with knowledge to create pretty pictures. I have to say mountain scenes are a regionalism that lends itself to the "pretty pictures" approach rather than the simple colorist approach I use in abstract coastal subjects.

Is Abstract Art Really Art?  Yes, it's marvelous art.

Now I have to hunker down and  finish up - actually I have to start it again - had to have something to put in the gallery besides my photo and logo. 

What are your thoughts about abstract art?  Are you working in this genre or do you agree with the "didn't get it" comment in the MoMA review? Do you paint realism to "prove" you can?

Comments always encouraged. Or, if you're following interesting blogs, feel free to comment or post your links here.

All the best,

Gail Kent
Gail Kent Studio

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