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An Unauthorized Look: Why We Create and Appreciate Abstract Art

By Joan Maureen Collins

I’m asked why abstract art? Here’s my answer through an unauthorized look at why I think we create and appreciate abstract art. For me, abstract art is where the lines intersect between real and imagined “life.” Through abstract art, we can experience something with no boundaries. We can eliminate the gravity of reality in a glance. Visual expression evolves from a seed formed in an artist’s heart and climaxes on viewing in the wanting eye of the appreciator.

Wiki explains “Abstract as a visual language of form, color and line to create a composition which may exist with a degree of independence from visual references in the world.” Doesn’t that just entice you alone? That there may be no other known visual reference in the world! This reminds me of when I was first starting out and a very dear friend was helping me walk through the commercial process of selling my work. She advised me to put a high value on the abstracts. I asked why? She said, because you are giving me a view, a vision that I have never seen before and it is beautiful.

Wiki continues with related terms for abstract including nonfigurative, nonobjective, nonrepresentational. For me, these are strong motivators. I realize this may actually make someone uncomfortable. I think this dissonance, in many cases, is why people either love or hate abstract art. Even the haters feel something, perhaps offended, confused or turned-off. But they feel.

On viewing some of my abstract work, an appreciator said, “I’m so glad to see you doing abstracts. Looking at something and painting it is easy, she shared. Painting what you can’t see with your eyes is the challenge.”

Ask yourself and share, when’s the last time you saw something through your soul and not your eyes.

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