Episode 249 · April 23rd, 2023 · 36 mins 28 secs
About this Episode
Lots of people misunderstand abstract art and don’t respect it as a valid form of expression. We’ve all heard remarks that imply that abstract artists lack talent or skill or are trying to fool people into appreciating something that has no value. If you are an abstract artist, how do you deal with this attitude? Do you have family and friends who dismiss your work? Do you let negative remarks pass by, or do you try to provide some background or insight into abstraction? Today we’ll explore why abstraction confounds many viewers and some ways you might provide some insight.
It's perfectly fine to not attempt to explain, defend, or try to educate people about abstraction. Abstract artists have well over one hundred years of history in the Western art world to support their approach and there are vast numbers of people who do appreciate this type of work. Ignoring negativity toward abstraction is a valid strategy. But there is also value to being able to state your position, especially to people in your life who may criticize you or are dismissive of your work because the “don’t get” abstraction.
It helps to recognize some reasons people say they don’t like abstraction. Although they may have a very deeply engrained bias against abstraction, they may also simply be uncomfortable with it and become defensive as a result. They may feel confused when there is no realistic image to identify, and no clear meaning. They may also lack the language to describe their reactions and are afraid they may sound unintelligent or offensive if they try.
In response, if you do want to engage with a skeptical person, you can talk about abstraction in general including its various forms and history, or you can talk specifically about your own work, your ideas and technique. You could perhaps compare abstraction to symphonic music, or point out that all visual art has abstract aspects. It's helpful also to understand and accept a person's resistance to seeing art in a different way and try to meet them where you find common ground.
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What's new At Cold Wax Academy?
Rebecca and Jerry launched their spring quarter on April 12th. Sessions this quarter so far included identifying compositional issues in your work, and technical information from Gamblin representative Mary Tevlin. Upcoming sessions include a painting clinic for works in progress, and much more. As always, members can join in on live sessions with questions and comments, and can benefit anytime by interacting with other members on our Members-only facebook page. With 100 recorded sessions in the member library there is always something to learn or review, with topics ranging from technical advice to visual language to guests speakers and critiques of member work.
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