2: Abstraction

What is abstract art?

“Art that does not depict recognisable scenes or objects, but instead is made up of forms and colours that exist for their own expressive sake.” (The Oxford Dictionary of Art)

See post:  Abstraction Processes

Project 2.1 A rational abstract print

Rational or geometric abstraction is based on an intellectual, rational formula for composing a work from colours, shapes and textures that are deliberately organised to create an effect. For example Ben Nicholson, Patrick Heron, Piet Mondrian, Kasimir Malevich saw in geometric abstraction the possibilities of creating beauty and universal ‘balance’.

Project 2.2 A random print

The artist has not abstracted from an existing form or arranged formal shapes together but allowed the ink and printing process to provide the abstract image. Key proponents of this approach are gestural paintings of some of the Abstract Expressionists, notably Jackson Pollock and Helen Frankenthaler. Also other abstract painters like Gerhardt Richter. Color-field paintings of abstract expressionists like Mark Rothko and Clyfford Still combine the interest in pre-planned colour, shape and textural relationships of geometric abstraction with a much more emotional and gestural laying on of paint.

See: Abstract Expressionism, Mark Rothko, Clyfford Still, Jackson Pollock, Helen Frankenthaler, Gerhardt Richter

Assignment 2: Abstract prints: The Human Condition

This print series draws more on traditions of bio-morphic abstraction, combining both the pre-planned abstract shapes and the interest in following the way the ink works on the plate.

Key inspirations were:

Abstract crops