Aug 082010
Abstract Art Oil Painting by Curtis Verdun

The Encounter - Curtis Verdun

I would like to dispel the somewhat common belief that abstract painters are sloppy, messy, reckless renegades with no regard for rules and formalities. I realize that not everyone shares that sentiment and if you’re not one of them, please excuse the following rant.

The perception described above reminds me of the use of the word “anarchy”. The definition of anarchy isn’t simply the “absence of government”. There is a portion of the definition that reads “…advocating a society based on voluntary cooperation…” or self-rule.

It does not mean “no rule” or “without law”. It simply expects each person to be self-ruled so there isn’t a need for laws. Of course, I’m not advocating anarchism in our society, because since we are human, with all of our moral and social imperfections, any implementation of anarchy would be disastrous. But that’s another subject entirely.

Abstract Art, by many, is indirectly misconstrued to be synonymous with “artistic anarchism” or “creative lawlessness”. True, abstract art departs from the constraints placed on purely figurative styles. By default, abstract art offers up much more freedom in the creative process. The possibilities and variations of outcome are limitless. This wide and unbounded freedom might appear to be anarchist on the surface.

But if we continue the analogy, we must realize that freedom does not need to culminate in chaos. Abstract art can have rules and structure. Indeed it needs it. The viability and validity of abstract art lies with each artist. Sure, it provides limitless artistic freedom, but it can’t be without rules. Each artist must define his set of beliefs, his stance, his artistic creed – and he must then fully comply with these self-defined rules. (until he changes them as did Pablo Picasso so many times) If he doesn’t, he stands the chance of producing mediocre work at best, and endure the wrath or perhaps just a quiet dismissal of art critics and collectors.

Abstract Art, not created with some defined rules is not Abstract Art. It’s just canvas and paint. The rules do exist. They are simply artist-defined.

Good abstract art is never an accident. It is carefully developed and expertly orchestrated.

Curtis Verdun

  4 Responses to “Abstract Art is Not Without Rules”

  1. To me the “rules” emerge from the painting itself. Every piece is like a chorus of colors, forms, textures and lines that sing in one voice when a painting is “finished.” The abstract painting process seeks to discover and “tune” those elements into some sort of harmonic balance based on the rules that emerge in that process and on the canvas. I often have to leave a painting alone until it speaks to me, letting me know where to go next, what to cover up, what to enhance and so forth until some moment comes when it sings. I don’t always like the result, but more intention and direction by me will only make it worse.

  2. P.S. Your work is terrific and wonderfully harmonic.

  3. Spot on interpretation of abstract art. I truly believe that abstract art is defined by the artist. Mine for example is beautiful to me. I get more positve responses than negative. Most people understand my intentions, which I believe are merely to intrigue and or please the eye. It’s more or less therapy, some people do drugs, some drink, some run, I paint. i have drawn the conclusion that people who are unable to understand it, are actually simple minded. Definitely not some one I’d value conversation with.

  4. maroc art…

    Excellent post. I certainly appreciate this website. Stick with it!…

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