Abstract Art is Statement Art (+ an abridged art history lesson)

Abstract art is interior design’s best friend. There are very few ways to punch up a room as well as Abstract can. And why is this, you ask? I believe Abstract art is alluring in a completely unique way, because of its obvious lack of subjectivity. Non-subjective artwork very naturally pulls the viewer in, because of our deep seeded sense of curiosity. We draw closer to Abstract work because we desperately want to understand it, and..well.. because it opens our pupils up! Abstract can be interesting, pretty, BIG, bold, colorful, or even ominous; No matter what, it will draw the viewer’s eye right to it. Not to mention, in art and design world, Abstract is totally in style. I believe the easiest way to turn most interior designs into FABULOUSLY chic spaces, is to place a very large, very bold abstract piece in the focal area- Living room, Dining room, Front Entry, Reception Area, etc.

My personal favorite about placing Abstract art, particularly Abstract painting, is that it is quite easy to color match, and even easier to frame. Abstract paintings are pretty self promoting, so no need to spend ages picking out an ornate frame. Single color floaters look killer on these pieces. And I do not believe any photo or pleasant landscape painting could do your subdued, gray couch justice like a 5x6ft red, black, and white Abstract piece mounted over it. This style of art will make any surrounding furniture design completely POP.

Summer House Interior Design
Summer House Interior Design

Abstract Art: “I don’t get it”….. “My 4 year old could paint that”

Okay, we’re going to chat briefly about why Abstract art is to be respected. I understand that it is not for everyone, mostly because it is not understood by everyone. The impressiveness and allure of Abstract art has everything to do with art history. To elaborate, we must discuss the birth of Abstract Expressionism.

When you look at Clyfford Still or Jackson Pollock paintings, for instance (and haven’t endured years upon years of art history classes), you might be thinking that they just look like a bunch of paint, smeared or splattered on a canvas. Big deal, right? Abstract art is considered impressive and amazing, because it was completely REVOLUTIONARY at the time of its birth. Back in the days of treasured and noble art, the days of Michelangelo and Da Vinci, art was considered impressive and worthy if the subject matter was painted or drawn as realistically as possible, because remember, cameras were not yet invented (except that they were, though not widely used or known of at all; Google ‘Camera Obscura’). So capturing an image by drawing or painting it realistically was the goal of art making. Artists painted THINGS- like portraits, horses, bowls of fruit, dogs, etc. Art was subjective. Around the time of the invention of Photography, painters began to think way outside of the box, because they no longer had the need or demand to paint subjective realism. Painting was practically on its way to the grave because of photography.

One might attribute the first movement away from realism to neo-Impressionsist painter Paul Cézanne, who was still painting bowls of fruit and landscapes, but was a pioneer in the restructuring of how to paint. He painted his bowl of peaches, but instead of painting these peaches traditionally [realistically], he began to explore what it would mean to paint fractals of color and light, the shapes and colors of the image, that would eventually amount to appear like his bowl of peaches. He was a pioneer in “ignoring the laws of classical perception”.

“Still Life with Comptier”, Paul Cezanne

Once the “classical laws of perception” went out the window, the revolutionizing of painting swiftly began. Abstract Expressionism went even further than rethinking how to paint. This painting style was all about what the paint was, it was all about material! It’s as though artists, like Pollock, looked down into their hands one day and thought, “Hey, this is stuff! This paint is a thing, and this canvas is a thing!” And for the first time in artistic history, painting didn’t have to do with the subject, but had everything to do with the material. Hence, Abstract Expressionism was born, and changed the face of the art world forever.

Clyfford Still

The Abstract Expressionist movement opened the doors to every art movement following it, every “meltdown” of classical thinking. We have this movement to thank for our currently beloved Contemporary and Conceptual art, much of which appears “Abstract” in nature.

I hope this abridged Art History lesson helps in the understanding of my dear love, Abstract art, because this art style really can’t be beat in amplifying a space, turning that “hm, neat” into a “HOT DAMN!

Artist Myke Reilly

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s