Monday, 15 February 2010

An abstract of abstraction. Dedicated to Sean Scully

After a recent trip to the Ulster Museum and a baffling face-to-face meeting with what appeared to be some simplistic large scale doodling, I thought I would give creating some abstract art a try. An attempt to see if there is more to the world of rather basic looking non-representational abstraction art (or whatever else you want to call it).

I immediately hit a problem. If I try to splatter some binary paint about in a manner that takes abstraction to a level used by Sean Scully, I would surely be taking and reducing ideas out of context and turning them into something simple like a block of colour. That is almost like creating a one off personal code of expression, the key to which is known only to myself. Therefore its unlikely to be very inclusive to a wider audience. Sadly, I wasn't helped much when I tried to dig deeper.

To help me describe what I found, I think this is most helpful, a YouTube video interview entitled: Sean Scully Reveals the Power of Abstract Art, where in response to the question, "Why did you choose abstraction?" Scully states:

 "Well it's quite simple really, I think if a representational painter wants to show the things in the picture, and with an abstract painting what in a sense you are trying to do is make everything happen at once". 

Besides making very little sense, this hinted to me, that whilst representational paintings mean something and are provided within an understandable context, non-representational abstract paintings likely mean nothing - much like the very words regularly branded about trying to describe them. This is because they can obviously mean whatever you want it to mean - it has little to no context.

He also goes on to mention an Abstract painting "should be, could be, possibly, a moment of revelation". Alas, if this is what this form of art is about, I've hit the spot because I had a revelation creating mine, and that revelation is that to me, its all a lot of water vapour. Maybe I'm not clever enough on the 'required level' to understand, but going by my logic, this form of art is nothing more than declaring simple and easily producible works as being a stimulus to provide a means to reflect. The whole existence of this art would therefore seem to be similar to the reason that I enjoy staring up at the clouds in the sky and day dreaming. Except its use seems confined to people who like to restrict their reflections to basic patterns and in confined spaces. Each to their own I suppose.  I'll not go on about it any longer.

With all this in mind, I decided to mess around, for about an hour in total, using Microsoft Paint to create something in a 'blocks and stripes' style, a style somewhat similar to Sean Scully's but with a hint of representational art thrown in. Feel free to reflect on them a while...

Mulder and Scully - the Cow Abduction



2 Man Scully


  1. I always find exploring new ideas to be more fun than arriving at conclusions anyway.

  2. I agree, a lot of it is the experience of the journey, not just the fact of whether you are going to get there.

  3. I like it. While it was easy to knock, in the end the Scully exhibition provoked more than one person to doodle and got us thinking about his style of art!



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