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Abstract: Can It Be Quantified?

Alexander Foster

Abstract: Can It Be Quantified?
Cambridge Dictionary Definition:
Abstract (ADJ) - “Used to refer to a type of painting, drawing or sculpture that uses shapes, lines, and colour in a way that does not try to represent the appearance of people or things”
Looking at the origin of the word, it means to draw away, sub-tract in essence. One can take a stimulus from the living world, and subtract it, simplify it, break it down into parts. They then draw these parts out, mould and craft them into the way they wish to perceive that thing. An abstract can simply be one’s interpretation of reality, no matter how distorted it may be. They may have abstracted the idea so far, that it may longer be tenable to draw links between the start and endpoint.
Popularised in the 20th century, artists like Kandinsky and Mondrian are synonymous with abstract art. Using bold colours and brash brush strokes, their art became intriguing, a statement piece. For some artists, it’s a visual representation of their emotions, for others, an outlook on society or a landscape. They can be intricate or simplistic in terms of design. Some may have gone in with a plan of how they wanted the piece to look, for others, it may have just evolved.
Drawing upon Mondrian’s work, his simplistic black lines with coloured boxes stand out to me as abstract art. Upon researching into his practice, these paintings were derived from society. Mondrian abstracted society to the point of utopia, perfection and ‘Concordia Ordinum’. They do not display how the world was, is, or how it ever will be. He has taken society apart to suit his view of how it should be. One’s view could be that Mondrian wished to see a flawless society and that is what is reflected in some of his pieces.
Kandinsky’s work was defined by his relationship to music. His art is him translating the music into lines and colours. For many, this is completely abstract, however, for Kandinsky, this was purely another medium to convey what he hears. He has abstracted the music into design.
Abstract design is something which is not quantifiable, there is no reasoning. It can mean everything to someone, and it can mean nothing to the next.
The idea of ‘Abstract’ is individual to everyone. There will be different perceptions from each person who views it.
Abstract: Can It Be Quantified?

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