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Liberation through abstraction

Much guidance on abstract art focuses on what I call ‘the inner game of art’, that abstraction is done through internal reflection alone. That is, though, as true as using the external world of our senses as a bridge to stimulate that inner game.

If I am on the right track, abstract art is the natural way for our minds to construct the external reality we call the world. So, by starting there we are actually starting inside; it is a little trick with ourselves. I use photographs in the various PDF sections as stimulus to help you feel at home in both the external world and your own inner world. It is all a matter of perspective.

People who comment on abstract paintings often describe them as paintings of ‘nothing’, as abstract art is non-representational, not actually depicting anything.

This is not quite right, as once you have produced an abstract painting, it now becomes a thing in the world and now has an existence all of its own. It actually depicts itself, in almost the same way as a picture of you depicts you. Look at the art in your home the impact its presence has – it is impossible to ignore.

Isabelle Graw has gone so far as to describe abstract paintings as ‘quasi persons’ because of the impact they can have on people simply in virtue of the emotions and feelings they create. Indeed, the Rothko room at the Tate Modern in London brought tears to my eyes and others have had a similar experience.