It occurs to me that many people paint “now whose background of thought and feeling in painting is no different from that of the public itself”. By this, I mean that beauty is the public’s sole desire. The thing about nonobjective art is that it is naturally in opposition with everyday scenic or picturesque reality. Yet, it is its condition of nonobjectivity and abstraction that draws it closer to the interval and pace of everyday abstract “thought and feeling”. Its ability to draw upon life in abstract ways determines its very closeness to the mind and heart, yet, still it is not a form readily accepted in the Midwest. This, for the artist, is no doubt frustrating but it is the artist, one must remember, who positions themselves in this way or that way within society. In other words, he chooses what to paint and what to display before the public. And what I would like to consider are other possibilities aside from beauty that artworks can provide.
Beauty is akin to the dichotomy of prettiness and ugliness. It is what an artist might consider the base judgment of visual experience. But, when viewing and painting nonobjectively one might consider these aspects: morals, the role of skill, intellectual content, and the subject of feeling and sensation.
Morally, one must ask why nonobjective painting? To me, it is an expression of dissatisfaction with authority, or, rather, the acceptance of individualistic freedom. When one undertakes the empty canvas, he is not locked to a readymade image of external form. He is in every sense an Anarchist. The artist creates without rules. Personally, I do feel it is a tumultuous situation as I on the other hand believe in rules and laws for society at large.
Nevertheless, the role of skill, or if I can put it in another way, control over the artist’s medium, is also subject to no rules. It can be tediously rendered or sloppily handled depending on what the artist is expressing at any given moment. This level of freedom is of upmost importance, I believe, to the nonobjective artist.
And we often don’t consider the intellect when viewing so called “beautiful” artworks. But, the intellect of course plays its part. There is this ongoing notion of the conscious and subconscious mind. Both should be noted in the process of painting. Often, I find myself going in and out of awareness, or shifting between the conscious and more automatic subconscious states.
Finally, feeling and sensation are perhaps the most significant interpreters and tools for expression of the nonobjective. Feeling as emotion and feeling as sensation is important. Sensation as it relates to the five senses of taste, touch, smell, sound, and sight. And feeling as it doubles in meaning for the word emotion. Personally, it is always in the pursuit of touch that I consider the canvas’s surface. I understand that if I elevate the texture of the paint the sense of touch might well be excited, if I paint lushly with reds and oranges perhaps a sense of warmth, and so on. Therefore nonobjective art can go directly to the matter without having to represent things literally.