The Fear of Thought

It may be easy to determine your favorite type of brownie, but pinpointing why you have that preference can prove tougher. It requires you to consider the aspects that make for a good brownie and weigh their levels of importance against each other. Art is no different.

Many people outside the art world feel apprehensive about non-representational and abstract art. Often people wonder “How can I tell if it’s good if I don’t know what it is?” and find it easy to dismiss the work. However, a classmate of mine once made an interesting observation- that abstract art is comforting because it can be anything. There is no fear in error because you really can’t be wrong.

If you can’t be wrong, then this leads us to the idea that in order to understand abstract art, it’s up to the viewer to think about it. Really think about it. How does it make you feel? How do the colors interact with each other? Is there a sense of movement within the shapes? Lines? Light? Does it leave you with an answer, or asking questions?

Artwork done in this style isn’t about portraying a thing in an environment. Rather, the artist is seeking to make a statement through visuals, one that is hard to explain and therefore can’t be represented through definite objects.

It’s about thoughts, and portraying “thought” is not a clear defined task. It requires work on the part of the viewer, and rather than think, people often run.

You wouldn’t start reading a mystery book and quit before the culprit is framed, so why would you dismiss a painting a before you thought about it’s mystery?’s_Afraid_of_Red,_Yellow_and_Blue

2 thoughts on “The Fear of Thought

  1. ‘You wouldn’t start reading a mystery book and quit before the culprit is framed.’

    ‘No one reads a mystery to get to the middle’ – MIckey Spillane.

    An excellent article, for which many thanks. For myself, I find I connect to abstract works through gaining a sense of balance and harmony, and these are the pieces that I might buy. With a few works, I might hang them upside down or rotated through 90 degrees and yet the very same qualities obtain – the artists’ never object to this interestingly.

    Many thanks.



    1. It is very interesting that you often display art this way. As an artist, something I often do as part of my process when I am stuck on a painting is to set it upside down for a while and continue painting. This helps to ensure that the piece is balanced as a whole, and not from only one perspective. I find it delightful that a viewer would take full advantage of this concept and see the art as beautiful in more ways than one.

      Liked by 1 person

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