Maybe another question we might ask would be – “Why are we artists painting in a manner (loosely termed abstraction) which seems to say ‘I’m abstract’ more than it advances any other sort of dialogue or reading? Why are we still choosing a language that is more subjective than objective in an age of where the issues we face in our current politics, (those that rely upon objective fact and science to discuss ) are now requiring a social-activism of sorts, a championing of, serving as topics of social justice and taking to the political streets in protest? In an age where we are having to defend science and truth and facts (an inversion of Renaissance thinking) how does painting something that looks like yet another abstract painting relate to our demand for objective analysis at such a dire point in our political landscape? There must be something that this approach is providing us with in the face of our current reality.
Looking at the history of abstraction in Western Art painting, we see the approach tackled in its infancy with an Arthur Dove foghorn through the Josef Albers square to the eulogizing canvases of Ryman and Martin. Painting moved from objects recognizable to those no longer until we met our final fringe of the material canvas itself.
And, now, here we are, in the 21st century still tackling the canvas but with our intentions very different. We’re no longer advancing a theory, but are engaged in the act of painting in an emotive sense, as therapeutic release, where the artist chooses “inner journey” over outer reality. The common theme is one’s interest in taking that ‘inner journey’ in a self-conscious remove from the outside world, away from the fragmented commercial CMYK landscape and indulge in a “meditative, intimate, individual, excavating of self.”
With our current surroundings being filled 24/7 with images on screens, fashion and advertising in HD, moving billboards as we drive, television screens everywhere and in every direction we look, abbreviated symbols, emojis, and thumbs up or thumbs down, the fact that artists working today are choosing to use a non-image approach, a nonobjective one in order to ‘say something’ with their paintings is symptomatic maybe, of the current flux mentioned by one of the artists here —- and that is, in an effort to survive it.
Maybe we are still painting in the abstract manner to comment upon our current world of image-saturation. Maybe making and then looking at nonobjective swirls of paint are what we need to survive as our current image-making landscape becomes sharper and sharper and more inclined to dictate our behavior (lead us away from our meditative self) rather than supply us with something supplementary to look at on any given day.