Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Abstract + Abstract = Real

Yesterday I was passing by an old, quite dilapidated wall rich in texture and color. Its surface was bearing the scarfs inflicted upon it by the teeth of time. It was quite obvious that the wall was once white and that the weather and the passing of time have added a whole spectrum of various colors to it. The wall was rough, a kind of landscape in miniature of its own, with the chunks of old mortar fallen off allowing the gray-red bricks to become visible.
I stepped back from the wall and took a better look of it. The "miniature landscape” made by the rough structure and the shades of different color, made me see all sorts of shapes in it. My imagination was greatly stimulated and tried to find and define the shapes within the abstract structures. Then a thought crossed my mind: this looks like a perfect abstract painting - a kind of ode to the beauty of the traces that transience  leaves upon the material world.

The Dawn of the Day, detail

This experience brought back the thoughts about the importance of abstract elements in the figurative and realist painting, including illustration.
My meditation on this subject goes as follows:
There is a kind of magic in the notion of using the abstract elements as the building blocks in creating the real forms. In fact, this idea should not be too alien to us because of the fact that our material world, with its concrete three dimensional forms, consists of the molecules of different chemical elements that are , in their turn, built from the atoms. Being unbelievably small and elusive to the human eye and mind, in a certain way these tiny particles could be seen as the  "abstract" building blocks of our world. 
Following this principle and projecting it onto Art, and painting in particular,  it could be said that a painting consists of the brushstrokes of various kinds and sizes, and that these brushstrokes are the actual building blocks (the molecules) of every painting, especially the classic ones. If we now take the brushstroke out of the whole and give it the right to have its own unique character, making it/them more personal, so to speak, we would be able to create an image that would surpass a common depiction of an object in representational art,  making the picture more intriguing and more evocative.
Puzzled mind tends to be more open than the mind that thinks - "Oh, yes, I know this", or "I understand that". As we know, our mind has a strong urge to understand things and processes we are surrounded by, but at the same time the same mind finds itself intrigued by not-easy-to-solve riddle. 

The Dawn of the Day, 2001/2002

Try sometimes to think in this way when conceiving your art and you will probably notice that the familiar things will start to look differently.This will eventually bring the thoughts into your mind that  our world and our existence is perhaps much deeper, broader and richer place/thing  than we previously thought of.  This is the point where the act of true Discovery starts.
As Marcel Proust, the famous French writer, said - An act of true discovery does not imply the finding of new worlds, but rather  seeing the familiar world in a different way.
As a true artist one is obliged to oneself and to one's vocation, to the phenomenon of Art and to the outer world as well, to step forward and take the lead on this path of true Discovery. This is my sacred conviction.
The Legend of Steel Bashaw 10, detail

The Legend of Steel Bashaw 10, detail

The Legend of Steel Bashaw 10

The Legend of Steel Bashaw 15, detail

The Legend of Steel Bashaw 15, detail

The Legend of Steel Bashaw 15

The Autumn, detail

The Autumn, 2007


  1. Truely poetic in vision and scope. The images themselves are a perfect example and "illustration" to a profound lesson just given.

  2. Food for thought indeed, thank you, great post...

  3. welcome to bloggers.
    I can not wait for the next posts.

  4. Thank you guys!
    Teodor - what a surprise! Welcome on board.

  5. Petar, great insights. There really is more to see out there than we realize. Keep up the good work.

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