Abstract question

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    Misty Huckstead

    I have had a question for a long time, maybe someone here can answer. I don’t understand some abstract art. I feel like I am missing something as I haven’t been trained artistically. Can someone tell me why painting of lines or canvas’ of one color are so famous? Is there a balance thing that I don’t see or something? I would like to learn as I tend to skip over these. Some really look like one of my children could paint or draw them, not being insulting, just wondering. Here’s an example of one called #8 by Mark Rothko


    or one below by Ad Reinhardt

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    Arjun Khode

    Hi Misty, I did a presentation on this once in college. My argument is that most of the art of this kind comes from a supply-demand standpoint. Many of these artists have mastered a technique of some sort before producing these kinds of works. People are much more likely to buy a canvas covered in burnt umber if they knew it was done by Leonardo Da Vinci, for example.

    Secondly, there is often a concept behind these artworks. For example, imagine a painting titled “blood mirror” that has just a canvas in maroon paint. But if it is encased in glass, the viewer would see themselves in the reflection against a maroon background. Some of these pieces have some sort of ‘design thinking’ behind them.

    Thirdly, if we are talking about abstract expressionism, it is about the emotion the piece invokes in you. Some of those paintings literally give me goosebumps. They lead you to a feeling and it is more about your emotional reaction. You could form your own stories looking at a piece because they really try to trigger your sense memories.

    I urge you to watch this youtube video, especially at time 2:45 where Stan Miller talks to an abstract painting.

    Matthew Archambault


    Thank you for your excellent answer. Great stuff. I have similar thought’s I will mention in today’s podcast.


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