abstract. what now?

I’ve run up against a wall today because my current painting theories are being challenged by a painting that’s still under the brush. My Twitter post this morning said,

“after so much talk about the need for ‘recognition of reality’ in art, this painting = abstract …”

Until now I’ve been safely cocooned in the painting theories of ‘MemoRealism’ and all has been well. But with today’s painting (as shown below), I’m not sure what to do.

abstract art nonrepresentational
An abstract image. What now?

I believe enjoyment from art comes largely from the ability of the viewer to associate with the subject matter of the art, as described in my writings on MemoRealism,

“In the instance of visual art the viewer of an art-piece requires images that are realistic enough for their minds to recognize [the subject matter] yet do not require the absolute, precise detail of total reality to be understood…”

What then, to do with a painting that may not provide a recognizable subject? I, as the creator of an abstract image, may see an understandable subject matter but the understanding may not be clear enough to stretch to viewers who have not seen my other work (focusing on landscapes, skyscapes & horizons) or even to those who have.

Is it time to move on and allow myself the freedom to ‘create’ based on new theories and admit the enjoyment of art may not be defined solely through ‘subject recognition’?  Further, could ‘subject recognition’ encompass a broader range of non-physical factors (like colour, brush stroke, shape) that remind us not of our daily physical worlds but of our own ephemeral experiences and interior lives?

Or is this the time to ‘keep on task’ and remain focused on the theory which has until now directed my artworks and consumed so much thought and effort.

I’ll get back to the painting and see where it leads.



originally posted 2010/03/17

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