Comments on: Not Painting, Not Sculpture, Not Abstract? http://abstractcritical.com/article/not-painting-not-sculpture-not-abstract/ Abstract Critical is a not-for profit company aiming to establish a new critical context for all generations of artists involved with ambitious abstract art. Sun, 09 Nov 2014 17:23:33 +0000 hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 By: Julia Cooper http://abstractcritical.com/article/not-painting-not-sculpture-not-abstract/#comment-3756 Thu, 17 Nov 2011 16:35:39 +0000 http://proof.abstractcritical.com/?p=438#comment-3756 I will second that Jenny it is a joy.

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By: jenny meehan http://abstractcritical.com/article/not-painting-not-sculpture-not-abstract/#comment-3544 Sat, 12 Nov 2011 20:27:00 +0000 http://proof.abstractcritical.com/?p=438#comment-3544 Abstraction, yes, a process before anything else. My own understanding of it is that it’s something which can happen when a creator of whatever variety is free to manipulate whatever material they work with in a manner which is free of any need for it to be meaningful to anyone else. It’s a joy. The products are as diverse as the inspirations which make someone create something in the first place. I tend to settle on the “All art is abstract”. As for the contributions here, they are all very interesting.

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By: seamusgreen.blogspot.com http://abstractcritical.com/article/not-painting-not-sculpture-not-abstract/#comment-2788 Sun, 23 Oct 2011 17:14:54 +0000 http://proof.abstractcritical.com/?p=438#comment-2788 I find it strange that ‘abstraction’ is seen by many as an opposite to representation… I don’t understand why you would strive to avoid associations when, as CAP said, even flat colour will hold something recognisable. I see painting pocketed as ‘abstraction’ a lot of the time as the painter having an uncontrollable urge to make work without nailing down why or how, the process of making outweighs the content. By this I can only relate to my own practice, I do not go out to make abstract paintings nor do I go out to make representational ones, I just have a strong desire to make paintings and feel I need something to get my teeth into to make the work feel like it has some weight or purpose. I use imagery or forms that I memorise and then regurgitate into the work because it gives me coherence and something to work with, I then hope the viewer can take my output and re-imagine it for themselves. I feel the idea of ambiguity is far more interesting because it frees the whole argument up and allows the painter to cram whatever they like into the work without rhyme or reason meaning the viewer can make of it what they will without the stigma of the term ‘abstraction’. Painting will always reference its own history so I believe the argument around whether abstraction can be ‘self-referential’ is dead. I think what is more important now is to think about how painting can move into different territory and how the term abstraction can now embody new values. For me I am really interested in ‘leading the viewer up the path’ giving them snippets of information that they can then process in many different ways. So I guess abstraction for me is painting that processes ambiguity, it remains open for the viewer to make many different associations to one painting, regardless of whether it drifts on the edge of representation or plays with formal geometry….

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By: @Ct_ART http://abstractcritical.com/article/not-painting-not-sculpture-not-abstract/#comment-2397 Wed, 12 Oct 2011 20:21:23 +0000 http://proof.abstractcritical.com/?p=438#comment-2397 Modern art is all about perception: what the viewer brings to it or takes from it. With abstract art there is greater scope to form a personal view; less so with figurative or realistic art. All abstract art, be it sculpture or that flat, rectangular stuff they put on walls, is made up of recognisable components – the medium or the subject; so I suppose what we are really talking about here is the gaps through which our perception is allowed unobscured or cluttered reign. The more recognisable the elements of image or component, the less the scope for one’s own emotional reaction.

Or is that bollocks?

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By: thishydramadeofpaint.blogspot.com http://abstractcritical.com/article/not-painting-not-sculpture-not-abstract/#comment-1813 Tue, 27 Sep 2011 08:52:20 +0000 http://proof.abstractcritical.com/?p=438#comment-1813 I think the problem is two fold in nature. One is the designation of the word abstract, the other, how to define certain types of work as being different from others; it seems we are in the realms of the political to some extent. What came first? The desire to make something or the desire to express an idea using something we have come to regard as- to culturally classify as residing within the cannon of art? What is the usefulness of having to give something a specific name? Who does that make things easier for? Not for the artist I’d say. I don’t think the issue relates only to painting or sculpture either.

I find it best to relate this argument to my own practice which is using paint to make something. This is the most basic description I can give. I use paint to answer questions, solve problems, react to things I’ve previously done in paint but often I’m acting intuitively. I deal solely with what is in front of me as it issues from me. What happens in retrospect is an entirely separate issue.

So what then would I call what I do if I’m forced to? Idiosyncratic Painting, Non Specific Painting, Specifically Non Specific Painting? It seems that most of the kind of work we are referent to here hovers between subject/object classification and relates more to Process but with the stipulation that this process is mutable; not fixed or rigid and often involves a heavy dose of the Intuitive. Work where you can’t really say what it is other than perhaps “it’s a painting” or “it’s like a painting” for example. It’s a battle between words and things.

The designation abstract has become an unhelpful catch-all which is not applicable in cases where results are not manipulated from any preexisting source (usually external). In order to be abstract then a work must reference something which resides outside the work itself. All work will ultimately have some kind of narrative association for members of its audience, this seems unavoidable, but this is not a problem for the artist who deals only with the issues as they unfold.

It seems then that abstract is merely a convenient catch all often used as a dismissive by people who are unsure of what they are looking at or uncomfortable with things which fall outside of the readily classifiable. In certain cases then abstract has become a term of negation and avoidance for the audience, the critic.

So what then are we doing? We are object makers working in various media. This is not abstract. If your work relates to anything outside the work then you are abstract. Figuration has a similar problem; you can make the same argument almost in reverse. There will be a liminal space where the two meet but again this isn’t a problem.

So where does this come from? Probably the Modern/Post Modern culture clash. The relegation of craft, the elevation of kitsch and so on but these are slightly different topics for discussion and probably not for this “Mostly Redundant Catch-All Classification Critical” platform.

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By: CAP http://abstractcritical.com/article/not-painting-not-sculpture-not-abstract/#comment-615 Mon, 18 Jul 2011 17:17:08 +0000 http://proof.abstractcritical.com/?p=438#comment-615 The trouble with thinking of ‘recognisable’ as the opposite of abstraction is that anything can resemble anything else in some way – can be recognised as some sort of version. Even just a flat colour or a monochrome will carry associations, we ‘recognise’. Then again we ‘recognise’ things like a number or a colour, which are not actually things at all, but concepts or classes, that is, abstractions. So the recognisable cannot properly contrast or distinguish the abstract.

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By: failedpainter http://abstractcritical.com/article/not-painting-not-sculpture-not-abstract/#comment-594 Sat, 16 Jul 2011 06:33:14 +0000 http://proof.abstractcritical.com/?p=438#comment-594 are you reading the same debate as I am?

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By: CAP http://abstractcritical.com/article/not-painting-not-sculpture-not-abstract/#comment-555 Sat, 09 Jul 2011 12:52:53 +0000 http://proof.abstractcritical.com/?p=438#comment-555 Apparently Germans prefer the term Non-objective to abstract. Although I’m not sure what advantage there is there.

The usual sense of abstraction – as generalising or reasoning beyond immediate evidence or perception – seems adequate to me. The question them really becomes how far, or whether there is a full (as they used to say) or pure abstraction, that ascends to an ultimate or absolute level? For the idealistically-minded this is terribly inviting. Hegalians in particular are fatally attracted to The End of things. But the way it has played out in 20th century Painting, has been more an argument about self-reference, and what are sufficient conditions or properties for this is painting. But as I say, that line of thinking is pretty much exhausted by Minimalism in the 70s (the very term describing precisely this project) and since then abstraction in painting has actually tended to concede some degree of figuration (or concrete picturing) and now the argument seems to me more one of what level or degree of abstraction is acceptable to painting – perhaps any picturing – even where it thinks it aspires to realism? For, there just is no escape from some amount of formalism, even for the fanatically wide-angled photographer (see Gursky, Struth etc). It’s not so much a matter of eliminating content anymore in order to attain ‘pure’ abstraction – we live in an age of impurity or corruption – but rather of identifying abstraction, just where we believe we see only content.

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By: ahab http://abstractcritical.com/article/not-painting-not-sculpture-not-abstract/#comment-545 Fri, 08 Jul 2011 04:19:41 +0000 http://proof.abstractcritical.com/?p=438#comment-545 Well, massaccio… assuming you’re not talking about your own artistic output, that’s some seriously pejorative motive-ascription. Conversely, if you are describing your own working experience, “abstract painting” isn’t a thing to be paranoid of any more than it is a thing to get dogmatic about.

I thought I was asking for a more careful definition so ‘abstraction’ could be wielded in a sentence about art without lopping someone’s ear off. And it’s tough to use a term that carries a thousand words of baggage — better, I think, if it refers directly to some straightforward, common understanding. I offered one upthread, as did a few other commentors; and I thought neal might have one hidden under his evident frustration.

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By: Chris http://abstractcritical.com/article/not-painting-not-sculpture-not-abstract/#comment-531 Tue, 05 Jul 2011 13:56:56 +0000 http://proof.abstractcritical.com/?p=438#comment-531 I think this website is about giving Abstract Art the platform and recognition it deserves.

The self analysis on here is other artists curators trying to define what Abstract Art is, if you like thinking out aloud sometimes.

We do need a good debate about your points, a-n try too but not many give the a-n forum its due. Perhaps they are scared of ruining there careers.

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