Thursday, April 20, 2017


Walking Man - Acrylic on canvas,
36 x 36 inches re-post (link)

Despite the common trope, “my kid could do that,” abstract art that works is really quite hard to achieve. When most children make abstract art, the work lacks sophistication, educated thought processes, and a range of complex emotions. There are certain developmental stages children must reach in order to make strong abstract art choices. Children’s art can be interesting and some famous child artists have made some decent paintings through the sheer number of works they produce. So, what is good abstract art?

Representational art has been around since to prehistoric times. During certain time periods, abstract symbols or idealized objects where the dominant style. Other times the more realistic representational art dominated the scene. Only after the invention of the camera and idea of Kant’s unseen world did abstract art rise. The theory of representing the non-objective world seduced many artists. Both representational and abstract art have their roots in religion and spiritualism. Both have been decoupled or reaffirmed this bond, depending on the artist.

To answer my question of what is good abstract art, I think you should go see two shows by Dallas galleries to help guide your journey of discovery. First, visit Haley-Henman contemporary art and then visit the show art RO2 Gallery. Cindy J. Holmes show, titled Thus Spoke Derrida, is a play on the book titled Thus Spoke Zarathustra by Friedrich Nietzsche. She is also referencing the philosopher Jacques Derrida, who was influenced by Nietzsche and developed a method of reading called deconstructing the text. Holmes uses this method in order to create paintings that break the figure into gestures of mark making. Her people are more abstract than the Bay Area Figurative Artists but not as abstract as Willem de Kooning. Holmes’ brush work hit much of the language of abstract painting. The cheerful colors seem to contrast with the emotions Holmes seems to be trying to convey in her figures. However, the compositions of the works don’t seem to always work in each piece. Subtle cues that would normally lead your eye around the work are not always there. Still, I think this is a worthwhile painting show to see.

RO2 Gallery is showing Yuni Lee. Her brush marks dance all around the canvas. She has the right balance of rest and movement for your eyes to stay engaged. Lee also understands the language of abstract mark-making, but her approach seems intuitive rather than based on reality. Lee’s background is softer in motion but compliments the foreground. Little marks and color patches combine to create the whole of a complete image. These are successful abstract paintings in the same realm as Murielle White or Trey Egan. Lee’s title for the show is Balance, which reveals the overarching principle she uses to construct her work.

Cindy J. Holmes will be showing her paintings with Haley-Henman through April 1st. Yuni Lee will be showing at RO2 Gallery through April 15th. Further educate yourself by visiting Carneal Simmons Contemporary Art for Jennifer Morgan’s paintings, Circuit 12 for Gina Orlando’s art show, Holly Johnson Gallery for the atmospheric works of Joan Winter, and Valley House Gallery and the very Modern work of David A. Dreyer. You will build a better understanding of what works in abstraction just by seeing enough art.

No comments: