Experiencing the Abstract

Kandinsky

What are the obligations and objectives of the abstract artist?  What is the abstract painter in for? Is the artist working to satisfy an insatiable appetite? Does one paint to express oneself, and does one need to have a message which must be conveyed in a piece of Art? Or is it just enough for the artist to have the productive experience, or maybe to give an experience to the viewer, to tantalise or even to shock. And when does art become Art? What is it that we can judge by when the word Art has so many connotations?

Standing proudly in front of my work at a local collective exhibition, I have recently been asked to explain my painting, to define what was in my mind while executing and to give a meaning to my execution. And also “Why the title?” and “Is the painting’s title important?”

Experiencing an abstract work is always an intimate experience and the same work is liable to give diverse individual experiences. When the artist stands before the latest creation with elation for the production of such perfect infinite work that speaks to one’s soul – then it may feel that nothing else is needed. When a strong abstract painting can stand with enormous presence independently and on its own why seek its title? Do we need a title to be lead into a specific direction? Can we not make it on our own? Are we hesitant to venture in the realm of association and the unknown? Are we afraid to be led to experiences by something that we might not understand? Do we really need to understand, or is it enough to be made happy, euphoric maybe, sad, melancholic, or nostalgic by a specific work? With this in mind one may understand why the existence of the occasional untitled abstract painting.

However, I believe that a title, especially to an abstract work remains important. It remains one further tool in the hands of the artist, whereby one may suggest a line of thought to the viewer. I have always given a title to my paintings and it usually relates to my experience be it during the time of or after its execution, and always with a suggestive hint towards my state of mind – as a means of exposing my inner self further.  And a viewer may get the experience even before getting to know the work’s title but the title must be a further continuation or extension of that same experience. What better satisfaction for the artist than seeing others struck by the work and savouring all with awe and maybe even euphoria?

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