I Green III and The Algebra of Abstraction

I Green IIII Green III | collage painting: mixed media | 15 x 20 cm (6 x 8″) | December 2015

Acrylic on paper, recycled paper, recycled tissue paper.

  One of the things I loved reading about the artist Bruce Nauman is his approach in Ex nihilo, meaning to create “out of nothing” – literally using what is ready and available – which infers a certain discipline, one that he knowingly practices.
Something I noticed recently while inking a sail boat for a current project is how relaxing it was, there was little or no angst, no strain on the brain, and so the contrast with making abstract work is significant enough for me to ponder. Involved in making abstract works is literally to make abstract ‘work‘ – because it is mind-numbingly difficult to create something that looks effortless, balanced, and inspiring in a way that escapes adequate description. Similar to poetry, we don’t always comprehend the meaning of a verse but it carries the potential of meaning and resonance, on a level that is often beyond intellectual comprehension; the personal meaning from the writer to the recipient is conveyed through the ether, as if my magic… and magic, in a world where we over-think the mundane, in my view, comes as a necessary salvation from psychosis. And there in lies the paradox, the challenge, and the draw; why abstract feels like a quantum equation that I (among many artists) are attempting to crack, yet one that I know has no single resolution but an infinite number of possibilities, while offering desperately needed opportunity for blissful time-lapse (or personal nirvana). Working with abstract concepts in art creation often drives me mad, into depths of despair and back again, and yet there is nothing else I would rather do with my time and energy,
than work on the algebra of abstraction… I love it,
and that is about the simplest aspect of it all.



    • Well, a compliment from a writer surely has to be a compliment and a half, thank you H. I’ve tried reading other artists written work many times, my mind tends to drift to ideas like perhaps they should have stuck to making art – oops, controversial.

  1. nannus

    Interesting line of thought. If you draw or paint an existing object, like that boat, the amount of information you have to produce newly is much smaller. In abstract art, on the other hand, you have to create a new structure that was not existing before. The amount of information that you produce (and thus the number of decisions you make or the number of choices you have to take) is much higher (the back side of higher freedom), so it must be by far more difficult. You produce something completely new and find a new island of interestingness or beauty in the ocean of uninteresting, bland structures. What kind of boat are you using to sail that ocean and what kind of compas and nautical set of instruments you need for that? Being no artist myself, I don’t know how that works, but I find it very fascinating.

    • Beautifully put Nannus, creative metaphor-ing, thank you. None of us know how it works, artist or no. Someone once said that everybody wants freedom but none really knows what to do with freedom if they obtain it. It’s a challenge.

  2. Pingback: Intergalactic Purple | Zizzling Zazzle - Home of stine1 on Zazzle and beyond

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