June 5, 2017
By Arthur H. Gunther III
If you could see a person’s emotions, thoughts, likes and dislikes, even the soul, you would be looking at an abstract painting, for the elements of each reveal existence.
Line, form and color are the abstract, however jumbled some or even many may term the painting, but if you would look closely, each of those are not only suited to the totality of the work but the colors, even their shades, the shape the painting takes and the lines that form it define the theme, the essence, the motor that runs. You then have a name, an identity, for the painting, whether it is from the artist or what you prefer to call it.
Same with people. The individual can be part of a group, type, region, country, and so the picture of the person fits a general look, something you might well expect. Yet no two pictures truly are alike, however similar. The shape, the line, the hue of the individual constructs the man, the woman, the child.
And if you care to study the human “painting,” you will see emotion reflected, not only in the present but what has drawn lines in the individual’s experience. Good times, not so good, joy, elation, sadness, etc., are there.
Even the form of someone can be shaped by living, so very recognizable by those who care to look. The coloration is its own thing, and the rainbows of life itself are visible.
Some viewers criticize abstract paintings, even offering the view that a child might easily do one. But, first, a child’s imagination and creativity can be near-genius, for it has not yet learned the world’s restraint. Second, the best of the abstracts are from within, and there the gift of wonder, questioning and willingness to take a chance reside.
Abstracts contain the elements — the foundation — of all paintings, even well-executed portraits, landscapes and realism such as Edward Hopper’s American view.
And so it is with humanity. We are each an abstract that shapes us from birth to passing.
The writer is a retired newspaperman. firstname.lastname@example.org