"I get that it's abstract but what is it?"

“I get that it’s abstract but what is it?”

Many people find contemporary art baffling. I was once hanging a painting in an exhibition and there was a fellow watching. After some time he came up to me and said: “I get that it’s abstract, but what is it?”

Clearly he didn’t get it. “It” wasn’t anything in particular – it was whatever it looked like to him.

That’s the beauty of abstract art. The viewer makes sense of it for themselves. Perhaps it’s just an interesting arrangement of shapes and spaces. Perhaps it makes you feel or think a certain way. Perhaps you just like the colours. Whatever.

Abstract or contemporary art is what YOU make of it.

Art is personal. There is a lot to be said for artworks where the subject is recognizable  – whether it’s a landscape, figure or still life. In fact, abstract artists can learn a lot from a well executed work that uses a familiar subject. But to us abstract art lovers it’s just not as interesting or intriguing when the meaning of a painting is served to you on a plate!