Why do you think Abstract Art is not popular here?

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  07 July 2005
My Take

There are alot of good points raised but heres my example. If you look at the meet the artist thread for Linda Bergkvist on page 5 she has some abstract visulations of 4 of her best friends. Now on there own you could make 5foot by 5 foot prints of theese and title them fred,joe,lori and samantha put Linda's signature on them and the would pass for abstract art and probally sell.

Or you could post them anonynouslmly and not in context and be mistaken for an untalented 12 year old.

The problem in general with abstract art alot of the times is that if it's not taken in context or explained its very hard for the viewer to understand what the artist is trying to evoke as an emotional response.

But art in general can be this way also. In the Van Gogh museum in amsterdam there is a small van gogh self portrait cant be bigger then like 6 by 6 inches. A floor up is another self portrait by another artist about the same size. If you take them seperately you say oh another self portrait by van gogh and upstairs oh a small self portrait. But if you knopw the story behind the pictures. That van gogh painted his self portrait and sent it to a friend as a gift to try and get his artist friend to come to this small village that he was painting at. And later the frieind came and painted a self portrait and gave it to Van Gogh as a return gift it takes what would otherwise be not so interesting art works and makes them fascinating.

I think this more so apply's to abstract art. And why at times it can be unpopular or over looked
  07 July 2005
Originally Posted by Stahlberg: I make images with my feelings, not my brain - I use my brain ONLY as a tool for my feelings to express themselves as well as I can.

Feeling is a mind activity that calls the brain home

Originally Posted by Stahlberg: I guess I'm just not smart or educated or discerning enough for abstract art.

I'm not sure what to make of that !! You and I know that this is far from being true. However, Abstract Art has less to do with education and intellectualism, rather with the desire to connect with abstract thoughts in the absence of meaning. In architecture, it is a Must to be able to connect with abstract ideas, and I think all other disciplines are the same. Math is an extreme example of that narrative.
Originally Posted by Stahlberg:
You used wine-tasting as an example - good example. That's pretty much how I feel about the 0.001% of abstract art that's actually good - over my head. I can drink wine and I can like it (in very small doses, at the right occasion), but I can't love it and I can't critique it and I can't make it

0.001% is one in one hundred thousands ?!!
In anyway, every artist is free to do what they desire, I was just curious, and am still..
  07 July 2005
Quote: Feeling is a mind activity that calls the brain home

I'm sure you realise I mean different areas and different functions of the brain. Cogitation versus Sensation. Bach versus Beethoven perhaps (but I don't know that much about music either). Theroetical mathematics versus... I don't know, gourmet cooking?

Quote: Math is an extreme example of that narrative.

Yes, exactly, again a very good example. I suck so badly at math and abstract constructs that programmers would be excused for thinking I'm handicapped, or showing early signs of Alzheimers. But I've always been this way. I'm okay with "merchant's math", but you loose me with trig - and I've gone through periods of my life when I REALLY tried getting it too. Never mind trying to follow Sartre and Wittgenstein.

Quote: 0.001% is one in one hundred thousands ?!!

See what I mean about me and math?
OTOH I expect I'd see about 1000 or so mediocre to terrible works for every good work of abstract art, if I spent a few weeks searching for it on the internet.

Quote: In anyway, every artist is free to do what they desire, I was just curious

Sure. I just answered for myself, not speaking for anyone else.
  07 July 2005
Originally Posted by ashakarc: Here is a question for you. Why do you think Abstract Art is not popular on these forums?

Filters = 'click click' art

At least that is what the majority of digital abstract is these days... a random assortment of filters. I am sure a few rare specimens shine through with real ability... but for the most part.. you don't need an artist's hand to make it.. so it is of less interest then other forms of digital arts.
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Last edited by PerfectBlue : 07 July 2005 at 06:27 PM.
  07 July 2005
A quote from a book

I had to actually pull this off my shelf to find the quote because this conversation reminded me of this.

" When Paris was liberated , he took a month long oral and written admission examination for ecole Normale amd Ecole polytechnique, despite his lack of preperation. Among other elements the test had a vegistigal examination in drawing, and Mandlebrot discovered a latent facility for copying the Venus de Milo. On the mathmatical section of the test - excersises in formal alegbra and intergrated analysis- he managed to hide his lack of training with the help of geometrical intuition. He had realized that, given an analytic problem, he could almost always think of it in terms of some shape in his mind. Given a shape, he could find ways of transforming it, altering its symmetries, making it more harmoniuos. Often the transformation led directly to a soloution of the analogous problem.

Describing Mandlebrot
James Gleick author "chaos Making a new science"

Dont know if that adds anything but the direction the conversation was headed directly reminded me of this a math guy thinking of abstract shapes to solve alegbra problems.

Last edited by jamesdansereau : 07 July 2005 at 06:30 PM.
  07 July 2005
I thought about it a little bit and I've concluded that abstract can be commented on. I find things like image composition and colour use and contrast all can be commented on to better the quality of the art.

I have some colour experiments which are pretty much abstract and I've seen a WIP lately which was abstract or somewhat surrealist I guess. Works fine, that can't be it.
modelling practice #1
  08 August 2005
Most good abstract art is often preocupied with issues that cannot be translated into a digital format. Having said that, I suppose most good art, which was not intended to exist as a digital image probably isn't done justice on a computer screen.

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  08 August 2005
It would appear to me that the bulk of most website designs involve abstraction to a large degree; just in terms of layout, color, etc.

Most of the 60s Modernist period involved elements of texture, particularly in terms of how the paint was applied, as in the work of Clifford Still, Franz Kline, or Hans Hoffman. Seeing those on a computer screen would be underwhelming. A 10 foot wide Pollock painting on a 15 inch screen would be also. I think this digital medium may be too limiting in that sense.

  08 August 2005
Originally Posted by dbclemons: It would appear to me that the bulk of most website designs involve abstraction to a large degree; just in terms of layout, color, etc.

To a certain level, you may be right, but for the most of that work is considered as design. Design by itself could start with abstract ideas, but the most important thing that differentiate it from painting art is the function. With function, the association of the different elements of the work follows certain program of requirements. In web site design, you have the usability of the interface, and the programmability of whatever function in there.

With abstract there is a "construct", but stripped of direct signifier, unless symbols are used. I do prefer symbols in an abstract painting rather than an open invitation to the unknown and ambiguous.

With regard to the fitness to the computer screen, I don't see CG is necessarily limited to it. But, certainly sometimes there are a lot more details pronounced in an abstract painting that require it to be large enough to be seen.

Originally Posted by Lord Blue:
Filters = 'click click' art

At least that is what the majority of digital abstract is these days... a random assortment of filters.

I'm not sure you can call that art neither those who do that are artists. Similarly, those who trace a photo and smudge the original pixels with a painterly look thinking they are being creative.

Last edited by ashakarc : 08 August 2005 at 04:35 PM.
  08 August 2005
hey I don't want o rain on anyone's parade but ...

I personally find abstract art quite refreshing and have noticedthat it is really enjoyable...in real life with physical form...media, scale, depth texture etc....

and it is not all about process... I personally believe all art is about becoming lost in experiencing the piece

I don't think so much digital stuff lends itself to "fine art".... you are limited to experiencing it on monitors or projections.

face it what is on this site is predominantly sci-fi/fantasy book cover art. For a lot of us in this community that is what pays the bills..
personally I'd rather create art in traditional media... a glitch or a HD crash ain't gonna destroy my work... seeing work in true physical presence makes a big ole difference

I do thin kthat digital media can provide a n outlet for roughing out and planning before final executuiion because of the flexibility

those of you gluedto your monitors mighht find it worthwhile to get out into the real world , open studios, local galleries, museums and check out art

Last edited by Hugh-Jass : 08 August 2005 at 05:11 AM.
  08 August 2005
My answer is simple and one people probably won't react well to. I simply dislike abstract art. I don't 'see' anything in it. I think it's produced by people who don';t have the talent to create representational art. I went through UCLA with my major being art, so it's not like I haven't been exposed to it. I had to sit through yawn inducing explanations of what this or that artist was trying to say when in my head my main thought was 'bullshit'. The use of color? I balance colors without even having to think about it. My main influences in art, even CG are the old masters and even more, the pre raphaelites and the illustrators of the 20s and 30s and 40s. My own art hasn't reached the level I want it to, but I am ainimg toward a pre raphaelite style adapted to 3D. Abstract art just isn't a part of my world.
  08 August 2005
It seems to me that Hugh and Gord, have hit the mark. In that digital media, currently does not lend itself well to Abstract artistic expression.

Although many digital artists work in virtual 3d, the output is very much two dimensional. Screens and printed media have very uniform, flat surfaces.

Practitioners of the plastic arts have no such limitations. They can use textures and materials, that reference real world experience, in ways that are redolent and visceral. Abstract Art is meant to promote reverie, and facilitate deeply felt responses, that have something in common with reading poetry, or listening to music.

Remember, CG is an art form in its infancy. It's strength currently lies in providing purely visual realistic illusion, that augments and supports cinema and photography. In short, it is essentially an entertainment medium.

As to the reason why abstract is not popular here; Bonestructures answer probably gives as clear an indication as any.

Last edited by PSR : 08 August 2005 at 11:23 AM.
  08 August 2005
Hey Bonestructure,

I know where you are coming from there. Art school is enough to put anyone of abstract art. The funny thing is that I have started to appreciated it more after leaving art school. I think that a lot of the abstract art that is shown in art history lessons is the stuff that is trying to be clever or inovative (pollock etc) wheras a lot of the best stuff is just trying to be "quite nice". Once you see abstract painting as just "quite nice" then you might one day see one which is "really quite nice". There are good abstract painters and bad abstract painters I think, but the good ones make paintings which people buy and put in their living room. The paintings on gallery walls are often the ones that people had to MARKET to sell. It is the marketing bulshit that gets in the way of good art and which gets paintings into history books... so we end up with a slanted view.

There is an un-written rule in the gallery world that says "never let the artist talk about their art". Gallery owners think they know best.

So I think that abstract art CAN be "quite nice" but the intellectual establishment wants it to be more than that (like poetry or music) - and that can ruin it to the extent that people end up hating it.

It is like... capitalism+art=bulshit.
  08 August 2005
I'll chime in on this subject.
Yes abstract art IS far more difficult to understand and requires the observer to be visually educated for what this might mean.
Most people with no artistic background seek to find Familiar imagery to hang on in a painting, and thus and abstract form alienates them, it scares them 'cause they can't find any corresponding point.
True, nowdays, with the way the art stockmarket and galleries work, anyone can produce any kind of piece of crap, and then it might be promoted by the business as a work of a genius.
In abstract art, there are still points one can judge and consider irrelevant of just subjective taste: Composition, colour, etc, apply to all paintings iconic or abstact
The point is, an artist to be able to create abstraction out of strength and NOT out of weakness.
Knowing how to draw, proportions, anatomy etc, is the alphabet for an artist.
From then on he can free himself and create any art he is able of.
There is a distinction between a creator, and a craftsman, the latter being just a technician, very often lacking the inspiration of the creator.
Too much preccupation over technicality will loose the creative aspect.
The knowledge must be there but not as an end in itself ...
  08 August 2005
To understand abstract art, you have to realise that Art has a cognitive function. Quite separate to its illustrative, commercial and political applications.

Something like the relationship that exists, between pure scientific research, (that most of us don't understand), and the technological spinoffs from that research, that we all enjoy.

Most of the conventions we see in Movies, illustration, CG, comics, advertising, everywhere. All make use, of discoveries made by artists, centuries ago. For example: 'one point perspective' discovered during the Renaissance. Controposto, see Michaelangelo 'David', Leonardo's Use of chiaroscuro (light and shade), and his discovery of the effect of using a 3 quarter view of the head, in portraiture. 'The Golden section', what many here know as the rule of thirds. And many other compositional devices that are in common, almost automatic usage today, were all discovered during the 15th century.

You see Art, just like Science, Philosophy and Theology, is something that human beings use, to create metaphors for reality. And the goal of art at that time was realism.

So, once the artistic representation of reality reached a zenith, did artists just stop, give themselves a pat on the back and say 'yes that's it. We've done it'. Not likely. Some realised it still was not good enough, that there is a lot more to reality, than describing a surface. After all no one ever walked into a room, looked at a painting and said, " Wow! I thought that was a real six inch high woman pouring milk into a bowl" (in this case"The Kitchen Maid" by Vermeer):


It's more than 15 years since I graduated, so for the moment I just can't remember the name of the artist who toward the end of the 19th century. First noted that all paintings are abstract, no matter what you do, they remain no more than 'arrangements of colour next to one another'. If that's what a painting is, the challenge for some is to see what a painting can do, so to speak.

While most of what we see in every day use around us today, borrows ideas from the 15th century. Artists like Braque and Picasso early in the 20th century, were using multiple perspective views and multiple positions in time, in their images. Ideas paralleled by the Scientific thinking of the time, notably Einstein's theories concerning simultaneity and relativity.

Artists are still engaged in visual research. It's not always pretty or nice. But there are very often universal benefits to gained from the risks taken, and insights gained by artists engaged on that path.

Last edited by PSR : 08 August 2005 at 03:22 PM.
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