ashar

about my art and views on art

getting the feeling for abstract art

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getting the feeling for abstract art

My living room is full of abstract art, by artists whose work I admire. Consequently I am often asked by non artists about it, and how some find it hard to relate to.  What are they supposed to make of it, do they need to find a meaning and what should their reaction be?

Looking at art has been a lifetime pursuit that has given me immeasurable pleasure, and I am hoping that by writing about my views on abstract art I can answer some of those queries for those of you that struggle with abstract art, in the hope that you will find it more enjoyable. 

Let me start by saying there are no rules in art, nothing is good or bad anything goes.  Art is a contact between the artist and the viewer, like all connections between people sometimes it works and other times it just doesn’t.  That’s art; an artist has to have a certain amount of hutspa to function as an artist.  As mostly the odds are against him making that connection.

feeling abstract art

Abstract art is about expressing and accessing feelings and emotions, it is a communication between the work and your emotions, through colour, form and shape.  It should connect with you on a subliminal level.  If this happens, this relationship between a work of art and your psyche is a very rewarding experience, one that can stay with you indefinitely.  As talked about in ‘art that moves me’

Traditionally an artist will see a landscape and want to replicate this image to engage you the viewer.  You will see the scene and may even recognise it; however a photograph would do just that.  Photography has freed the artist up, from representation of the visual world, into representing the inner world of emotion, which was rarely possible before the advent of photography.

barbara rae, seapath

‘seapath Kerry’ Barbara Rae. 2004

connecting to a piece

Whilst Barbara Rae’s work is abstracted landscapes it still has elements of representation, but not a photographic reproduction.  I can feel the essence of the scene she depicts through her abstracted use of colour.

An abstract artist wants you to experience and feel its atmosphere its essence, engage with the feelings that the place evoked in the artist.  Of course none of this is at all important nor should it be to you the viewer, what is important is making a connection between you and the work.

Look at it as a whole, try to feel its forms and colours, don’t ask why the artist has used that colour or this shape.  Try to feel them, ask what they invoke in you.  You don’t have to answer that logically, just try to feel it.

Thereby connecting you, through art to your emotions, your psyche. What I am trying to say is just accept abstract art don’t try to understand it let it work its magic on you.  This will not happen that often at first, however it is that odd occasion when it does, that will help you to appreciate and learn to feel art.

west bay

‘West Bay’ Angela Charles

Angela’s work is indicative of the essence of a place, and speaks to me of the feeling that place evoked in her.  It offers me an insight into her connection to the scene, without having to depict the scene, I can imagine it, be there even.

making emotional connections

Of course it does not have to be about landscape, in fact it doesn’t have to be about any particular thing, but it is always about emotion and making connections.

Abstract art can be very challenging both emotionally and visually, taking us into unfamiliar territory. Our dominant left brain seeks logical answers, and dismisses what can’t be explained; if we let it.  This is precisely why I love abstract art; I have to bring something of myself to it to connect with it.  Whereas when I view representational art, I do not have to engage with it.  As it provides the answers for me, without the challenge, but with abstraction I have to link with it.  I have to work at understanding my response to it.

Valinor

‘Valinor’ ashar

My latest works where never intended to be about anything, it is however an emotional response to colour and form, and in some cases evoked images whilst in the making, which has led to the naming of them, however I hope the viewer will make his own connections.

it is about feeling not judging

It is essential to be open and uninhibited, allowing it in, don’t try to interpret or judge the work, look at how you respond to it.  How it makes you feel.  If it does not stimulate anything in you that is fine.  It does not mean you as a viewer have failed or even that the artist has failed; it is just that a connection wasn’t made.

You can look at hundreds of works of art in a gallery and only engage with one or two pieces this is the same whether it be representational or abstract work.  You do not have to engage with or understand everything you look at.  What is important is that the more you look and allow yourself to feel art the more enjoyable art will become for you.

doodles on canvas 'don't stop me now

‘don’t stop me now – ashar

a personal experience

What you will find is that abstract art in a very personal experience that if you allow, it, it will enhance the inner self, a very uplifting and rewarding pursuit.

We are all very different and individual, and bring our lives experience to a viewing.  That is what abstract art encourages you to do bring something of yourself to it, participate with it, and make it a part of your awareness.

I hope this will help you enjoy abstract art and take the mystique away from it. Go out there and look at abstract art and allow yourself to experience it without prejudice.  The more you look the more you will develop your understanding and appreciation of art.  You will probably find yourself attracted / drawn to certain artists or styles; this will be proof of your engagement with it.

understanding abstract art

If you have a view on abstract art, please share them in the comments box below

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12 Comments

  1. Next time someone who is not an artist asks me about ‘abstract art? what does it mean?’ I am just going to send them to this post… so well put, thank you.

  2. Dear Sharron, I have had a look at ‘Asher’ who is on a deep thinking level I cannot visit or comprehend. She reminds me of a ‘Poet’ who I read “makes himself / herself a visionary through a long, boundless, and systematized disorganization of all the senses. All forms of love, of suffering, of madness; he / she searches himself, he exhausts all within himself and preserves their quintessence”. ‘Asher’ can FEEL and is moved and inspired by a ancients symbols and statements. I, as a trained engineer and son of four generations of blacksmiths and wheelwrights, can only consider the practicalities of what I see. I feel nothing but appreciation of design and endeavour. And yes I know I am missing out.

    For example I was born and lived on the edge of Dartmoor until my mid twenties. I have walked all over the moors and know many well known and lots of not so well know ‘hut circles’ and ancient settlements dating back many thousands of years. (The Dumnonii or Dumnones were a British Celtic tribe who inhabited Devon and Cornwall who also eventually settled in Britanny). I have sat in the middle of a settlement on many occasions. Did I feel anything. No. I just wondered how they survived in such a harsh environment and realising the climate 4/ 6 / 8 thousands years ago must have been much better than now. I have walked along and followed their lay lines, a range of cist burial mounds and followed stone pillars (Clist?) that run every 250 to 500 yards straight as a die across south Dartmoor from north of Ivybridge for many miles into the moor. All the time I considered the practicalities of life then. I realised the run of stone pillars was a guide to and from settlements. That the huts and enclosures were round because this is more efficient and uses less materials and thus easier to build. All, although close to streams, rives and water are built on the south east slope for better drainage and warmth (None are built facing north). I feel admiration but no deeper feelings. That make me a moron and maybe I have a lot to learn from Asher or Sharron.

    Friend Michael

    • Dear Michael
      Thanks you for your comments. What you describe about Dartmoor is, what it is for me, I can do no more than sit and reflect and wonder how and why. The answers you come up with are as mine, I see no more or less than you. I feel art yes, all I am trying to say in this post is that it is there for anybody that has the will to feel it. Oh Dear Michael, Moron! Never you have great capacity to feel and understand as your post attests, your friend Sharon

  3. Very nice blog. I have always wondered how abstract art is effective. This really helped

  4. Hey There. I found your blog using msn. This is a really well written article.
    I’ll be sure to bookmark it and return to read more of your useful info.
    Thanks for the post. I’ll definitely return.

  5. Beautifully and simple expressed Sharon

  6. this subject drives me crazy. Abstract art more than most types is NOT something you just feel and understand. That’s like giving someone a 12 tone piece of music or Ulysses by Joyce and say, just feel with your gut.
    Absract art is form of art that in order to appreciate requires the viewer to have done some learning on their own. Contemporary artist dig themselves a hole by not attempting to help people understand their work. Hockney is a great example of someone who does this very well

    • Hi Ray, What’s wrong with feeling a piece of music? Music is the ultimate form of abstract art surly. However I am not at all sure I understand your reasoning especially regarding Hackney his work is self explanatory and to be appreciated by the viewer. I am with Steve Abrams on this “I will not be an artist until I have created a piece of work that cannot be discussed, only felt.” Like I said in the article; there are no rules or rights and wrongs in art. Thanks for your comment Ray I do appreciate and welcome your views – best ashar

    • I would also like to add the academic view that you have to understand abstract art; does art and artists a disservice. It makes the viewing public feel intimidated by art and in some ways left out. best ashar

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