[February 27, 2005]
How can a simple thing, like a piece of art, be called abstract?
Simple. Abstraction is merely a form of us seeing. It has nothing to do with what is being seen and how complex that image may be, but rather in how that form is being seen by the viewer. For some, a painting or dance piece could be called abstract because they are missing the underlying beauty that is simple in nature- ie lines of paint or the arcs of the body in space. Anything can be seen as abstract, and yet everything is simple. It all follws a pattern, a set of rules, is contained in a physical or metaphysical way. Abstraction is the rule of nature.
Nature is abstract? No. Nature is beauty.
But beauty is an abstraction, as well, or rather a confirmation of how simple and elegant something is to the mind. But if that same mind took that same object and started repeating the imagery in their mind or said that word over and over again, the object starts to abstract itself from its inherit beauty. The simplicity and beauty still exist but the word plays tricks on you and fools you. Abstraction is the jokester of life- making you believe in something as it isn’t and ignoring the truth.
How do you get past the abstraction?
By learning how to see again- to learn how to discover again and experiment with your vision and your other senses. Expose yourself to a multiplicity of images, scents, sounds. Accustom yourself to the diversity of our world and how there is more than meets the eye. Draw objects by not how you see them but how they move or take up space. Don’t only listen to music, but dance and move to it – and don’t resist the urge to move a certain way if the music is telling you to move that way. By breaking things down into an essence, you’ll start to see things as they are deep down and not just on their physical form.
Why is it important to understand abstractions?
Because you’re missing out on a lot of great art, music, environments, and so forth, because you choose not to see everything and understand. If you can appreciate abstractions, then you’ll appreciate other human beings and make this world a better place.