2012 Black and White #6 2011 X Game 2014 Symbol #6
2012 Black and White #6 2011 X Game 2014 Symbol #6

Subject,
Meaning,
and
Manner
in
Nonobjective
Art


"It is absurd to ask what an artist “really” meant by his product: he himself would find different meanings in it at different days and hours and in different stages of his own development.”
 

John Dewey, from Art as Experience, 1934

 

These few words by John Dewey explain not only visual art’s ability to thwart explanation, but invoke a universal subject for all visual art, especially for nonobjective art. The subject is always one of meaning. Art is of varied meaning even within the circumstance of a single encounter. Meaning is the subject. Even the realist’s art can be interpreted in multiple ways. Furthermore, to express the meaning of visual art by way of words, to quote Dewey once more, “… is to deny their (its) distinctive existence.”

 

Visual art is to a degree a language unto itself and it communicates exclusively visually. This being said, nonobjective art, or art without recognizably depicted objects in it, I believe, ventures even more purely into the realm of the visual. Without making any attempt at storytelling it sets forth the sensations of objects without depicting the objects themselves. The substance or meaning is concentrated like that of cider to apples, or, like a scientist may refer to water as H2O it is the breaking down of realistic form to bare essentials. The realist shows an ocean and the nonobjective artist simply uses various blues. Their object remains the same but the manner by which that object is stated has changed. Trees are a popular motif used by landscape painters and browns and greens may be popular among nonobjective artists, but the manner of how they are expressed is personal to each.