Sunday, January 13, 2008

Abstract Art & Minds

An Argument for Appreciating

Abstract Art (from Abstract Minds) by Bonnie Joy Bardos

Recently, a quite sentient and knowledgeable acquaintance of mine protested to me how he just “doesn’t get” abstract art. I was rather taken back, figuring that someone with that kind of intellect would ‘get’ abstract art in a heartbeat! Not so. Now, I like art in most forms, and abstract is definitely a favorite of mine, and has been most of my life. So, here is an argument, for those who may not “get” abstract, to encourage looking at it in a different way!

Art. What IS art? Is it a just pretty picture, we pass by and say “How NICE”, then move on, or is art, perhaps something much more? Art is but an unseen language, the UNKNOWN. Yes, there are many different kinds of art: pretty art, dead art. Pretty dead art. Save us from making only pretty, vapid, dead art! Let art be passionate, deep, thinking. Let it have color and flow. Let it add meaning to this world… take the viewer to a deeper place of thought, away from the shallowness of everyday life, into a thinking place of silences and beyond the known.

Let art be both beautiful and profound. Let art be strange and different. Let art make people think, to question, to know, to wonder. In the things we ‘know’ there are those we do not. In the things we see, there are those we don’t. Consider this the ‘interval’…which leads us to the abstract.

The artistic mind often works in abstract. (nope, no normalcy) I enjoy watching the bees, the butterflies, the hummingbirds. May never a day go by when I don’t see and notice the little things…the ground hog, rotund from summer grass… the smiles in little children’s eyes… the scent of a new book… and even of an old one…

I see the patterns of leaves dancing under the green canopy of summer, and go into another place. I watch the night stars, and consider how small, and how nothing I am, yet I am everything. (Thanks, Buddha). I see art in flaking puzzle pieces of paint off the sides of this old house…in the lily pads and bright flashes of koi in the fish pond, of the delicate veined tree branches tracing the sunset sky. This, is abstract…the colors of the sunset’s vivid hues. For abstraction is taking something we are familiar and comfortable with… and seeing it in another perspective.

Look at Franz Kline’s “Red Painting, Untitled” and feel the colors. Look closely. No, like any art, there is a lot of BAD abstract art. Kinkade (shudder) is a hyperbole romantic painter, painting ‘light’ and fluff. Give me the grit of a Picasso, or the energy of a deKooning. Some of it’s ugly, but if it catches my eye, it makes me think! Frankenthaler, Matisse, Monet, Kline, Kooning, Kahn, Rothko…these painters range from Impressionist to Abstractionist…and I love them all. What matters is that I like it. I’m willing to look and SEE. Some of Picasso’s works are monstrous; yet, I admire him for the genius he was.

When I was a kid, I thought there was only one salad dressing: Thousand Island. Life’s a banquet, and I’m going to eat it, whether in art, or on the salad plate. Vinaigrettes, crisp scented herbal dressings, olive oil and pepper, fresh mango, citrus dressings…so many tastes: I enjoy them all… just as my taste in art has evolved from pretty art… to the untamed, wild, brazen colors, the strange stuff, the metal boxcar sculptures… rough is good, and I CRAVE a variety. So next time, you see abstract art, walk up and enjoy the ride. Enjoy a new dressing…you may never go back to your old favorite again!

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