I create abstract art. It’s confusing for some people, challenging on a level that makes them feel uncomfortable, perhaps even unsure about their ability to “get it”. And in great part, that is probably because they’ve heard so much ‘art-speak’ describing the work and the artist’s intention in a way that simply doesn’t make sense or doesn’t resonate with them. They feel they should recognize what they are looking at, or at least be able to communicate their reaction to the work of art with the same kind of language. But I’d like to propose another approach to viewing my art; one that allows you to just see, be in the moment, and let come what may. No pressure to ‘get it’.
You see (pun intended!), it’s completely natural for humans to have a need to recognize something real in the artwork. It’s how we’ve been programmed by evolution for a fight-or-flight response: ‘is it dangerous, or welcoming?’ We look at clouds, or rock formations and see faces and animals. But we can also just look out across the expanse of mountains and valleys, across the miles of ocean or dessert, and enjoy the view. There’s a sense of freedom in that. And it’s what I’m suggesting you do with abstract art. Let it affect you the way a sunny day with gentle breezes and swaying trees touches you.
When I create my abstract art, I’m hoping to convert my emotions and ideas into colours, shapes and textures that transcend reality, transcend vowels and consonants. I want to make art that is accessible to everyone on a visceral level. There is no need to understand what the painting is saying, no requirement to explain the message. When you look, just feel, just breathe and rest, and let the painting envelope you. I paint emotion. I paint the energy that flows through me, and back out into the universe. When you look at my art, we have collaborated. And it is precisely because you have added your own imagination and emotion to the work, that we are connected.
I think there is something else unique to abstract art: it has the potential to reach across boundaries, to break through barriers and create connections in a non-confrontational way. With abstraction, we have much more opportunity to experience the painting than we would be able to do with realistic depictions that tell us what we should be seeing. Abstraction can affect us on a level that doesn’t require clarification
Abstract art leaves space for beauty and the message to be interpreted on a personal level. What I create with my artworks is merely one step in the process. When you look at the canvas, what you see, and more importantly, what you feel, is personal to your experience of the world. There are no dictates, no right or wrong ways to respond to the work. If the artwork speaks to you, if it takes your breath away, even for a moment, it has affected you. That is how art can be transformative; how it can rearrange our vision of the world and create connections we never thought were possible.