Abstract Paintings : The Reality of Abstract Art Philosophy

We’ve all heard the criticisms: “People paint abstracts because they can’t draw,” and “My four year old could have done that.” I even heard the art-nazi host of Oregon Art Beat, K C Cowan, make the former statement and she should know better than this! Of course, the fact that she hosts a show about art doesn’t mean she knows jack about art, does it? No, it’s just public television. Obviously she has no understanding of abstraction whatsoever, and that is truly pathetic.

Let’s get a couple of things out of the way, okay? First of all, “art” is defined as “The expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture.”  Art is not limited to a particular style or subject matter. Which leads us to the other point here:  if you don’t like it just accept that YOU don’t like it. A work does not transform itself into “not art” because of your taste/opinion. You are entitled to your opinion, of course, and it is worth exactly what we all paid for it.

I am not exclusively an abstract painter, but my abstract work is far and away the most difficult and challenging of my painting projects. Creating the exact work of my vision can be frustrating in the extreme, and anyone who says that I must do these difficult works because I can’t draw is an idiot – or at least knows nothing of my body of work.

Drawing is an entirely separate skill; what is required for abstraction is a new way of thinking. As for the halfwit who might say their kid could do it, I say, bring it on! People make statements like this can’t produce, because while anyone including your no-talent kid can slather some color on paper, it still doesn’t meet the criteria of good art until it is arranged and juxtaposed so as to produce an appropriate mind effect.

Now this is the key: If – and only if -abstraction is done very well, we have in abstract painting the purest and truest interface between visual arts and human consciousness. It is the bleeding-edge of art and science melded together. Most people don’t understand this: They may assume that if they don’t understand a work of art, there must be something wrong with it. But my knowledge of the workings of the human mind has led me to envision the interactive nature of visual input in the form of matrices of colors and shapes, with the brain – and thus human consciousness. You see, it isn’t what the painting “represents” that is important – unlike impressionism -but what it does.

Up until now, you didn’t know how or why abstract art occasionally induced strong emotional reactions. You may have dismissed this effect because you didn’t understand it. Now you are beginning to see the truth: Good abstract art forces the brain to create new neural pathways to try to fathom the unfathomable. To brain wave patterns emerge. The colors, the lines, and the patterns – all from seemingly beyond the world as it is understood – cause the activation of new neural pathways by the millions.

This is the fourth generation of art theory: a schema of intuitive action and juxtapositions of concrete patterns in a holistic approach resulting in a convergence of brain science and art – of architectures and spatial relationships with neurons and dopamine. It isn’t just art, it is mind programming. And that is what makes abstract art the most powerful force that the creative mind can unleash.

It’s another way of thinking about abstract art. The effect exists in the human mind but the definition of it comes from little old me. So when you hear this information someday from some inflated ego with a with some letters after his name who tries to tell you he just figured this out, you’ll know from whence this information really came.

You can find further in-depth discussions about abstraction and my new theory elsewhere on this site, starting with the Abstract Paintings page. Once again, though, we come back to the whole conflation of ones subjective tastes and opinions with objective reality.  Those who argue any side in this discussion are in effect demanding that I acknowledge that chocolate is the only true flavor of ice cream worth considering, and that vanilla isn’t really ice cream at all.  I realize that they fail to understand this, and that’s why I don’t really want to bother engaging those who are unable to see the world or art in any perspective bigger than themselves.

— Chriss Pagani

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