The Process of Abstraction [108]

Apple podcast

If art is about communicating some aspect of how we see the world or what it means to be human; a selective recreation and not just nature or chance, it needs to express an idea. What is the meaning or the value in this representation? What’s your vision?

This week, we’re digging into the subject of abstract and non-objective art. We consider the different types of abstraction, from its beginnings with Hilda F. Klimt through the abstract expressionists and their focus on emotion, all the way to the more conceptual modern day abstraction.

“Abstract art has been with us in one form or another for almost a century now and has proved to be not only a long-standing crux of cultural debate but a self-renewing, vital tradition of creativity. We know that it works, even if we’re still not sure why that’s so, or exactly what to make of that fact.”

Pictures of Nothing: Abstract Art Since Pollock by Kirk Varnedoe

We also consider where to draw the line between art and simply making marks, and we share our own experiences with abstraction. Finally, we offer suggestions for those artists interested in abstraction, but unsure how to go about it, including the importance of identifying your ‘why.’

Having an idea behind the work will sustain you when things get challenging and how it helps you make decisions, strengthens your desire to keep working, and protects you against ill-informed criticism. This feels like a topic we need to come back to again and again, because there is so much to discuss. But we hope this first conversation sparks some ideas or spurs a discussion.


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(started February 15th but you can still join)

Books mentioned:
Vitamin D: New Perspectives in Drawing
Ways of Drawing

Anna Sigmond Gudmundsdottir

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“Monkeys Spinning Monkeys” Kevin MacLeod ( Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

3 replies
  1. Tara Keating
    Tara Keating says:

    Hi all,
    As to concertina sketchbooks, we can certainly buy them here in the USA, but they often aren’t called that (to be fair, I think we often call concertinas “accordions”). Hahnemuhle makes a “zigzag” sketchbook, Pentalic makes accordion sketchbooks, Sennelier does the Urban Sketch Book with the accordian fold design, and I think there are others! All of these are available at regular art retailers and online behemoths.

  2. Liz Dees
    Liz Dees says:

    Hi Alice and Louise.
    In response to your latest discussion on Art Juice, episode 108….

    ‘Everything is Art’.

    My reasoning behind this is everything has been created, by others (people and animals) or itself (nature), therefore we are all creators.

    Therefore the manifestations of this creation, whether it be visual, auditory, or sensory in another way (touch or smell), is Art.

    Putting something on a plinth, objectifies and possibly moneytorises (sp?) that art, pandering to the patriarchical white cube gallery concept and the capitalist system.

    Much love,
    Liz Dees 😉

  3. Mary F Molen
    Mary F Molen says:

    Hi, this is Mary from the U.S. (and an Art2Life Academy member). If I google Concertina books there are many examples of how to make them. Also, sells Concertina sketch book. Cheers!

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