The 20th Century pioneers of abstraction staked out a territory as far as possible from the representational art of the past. Their revolutionary goal was to create art with no resemblance to the natural world, pictures without any suggestion of three-dimensional form or space. In the much more fluid realm of recent art, many painters are blurring this hard line between abstraction and representation, creating imagined worlds that borrow many elements from the visible world, and using many of the tools of realist art. Two abstract painters who begin by studying nature and end up in dramatically different places are on display in Pioneer Square this month, and KUOW art critic, Gary Faigin, joins us with his observations on their work.
Few art forms are more purely subjective than abstraction. Freed from the requirement that their pictures must resemble some familiar object or scene, abstract painters can work in a completely independent universe, one with its own rules and vocabulary — with colors, shapes, and lines that exist for no reason other than their meaning to the artist, and the effect they produce.