Abstract Realism: The infusion of elements of design with the depiction of real life in visual art.
Our species (human beings) feel a need to categorize all things in existence. There used to be one kind of rock ‘n roll – now there are two dozen categories for it. Since the expressionists of the late 19th century (some would say further back than that) there have been a score of defined styles – expressionism, post-expressionism, cubism, post modernism, surrealism, art nouveau, abstract expressionism, pop art, etc., etc.. This obsession is detrimental to the purpose of art. Art seeks to perceive existence beyond categories. Art is a personal reflection. There could be as many forms of art as there are individuals practicing it.
Abstract realism is a new term that fits my own perception, and it is a term other artists have confirmed for me. The above definition is written by Elizabeth Reoch, a superb Canadian artist and teacher. She goes on …
“Abstract Realism is an art movement that is not easily defined because it is a marriage of two contradictory terms, Abstract art and Realistic art. Abstract art has no reference to real objects. … Realism attempts to capture real life moments in time, an image and the personality of individuals or objects who resemble real life.
“After the invention of the camera, artists moved away from realism and experimented with depicting feelings and concepts in their works. Those first playful and emotional experiments were called Expressionism and Impressionism. Artists infused their thoughts, feelings, emotions and inner thoughts into their paintings of real-life objects. This was the birth of the current term Abstract Realism.
“There was no longer a need for an artist to capture the image of a beloved person or the history of the time. The photographer was taking over that market and also inspiring the creative and innovative 19th century artist. Photographers are no longer just interested in just capturing a moment in time, they want to emote and inspire. Their choice of compositional angles and the editing process creates a new image or piece of art out of the real-life image, abstracting reality.”
Many thanks to Ms. Reoch for defining this so well. Please note that I’ve added the bold italic type where I want the point to stick.
Today’s work illustrates the term well – an easily recognized image depicted using elements from abstract design. Sharp lines dancing with smooth curves. Perceptive readers of this blog, however, will recognize that Abstract Realism is a scale, not an absolute, and today’s work sits further to the ‘realism’ side of the scale. Many other works here go much further to the ‘abstract’ side, even crossing all the way over to abstract expressionism.
I will have more to say about this by and by …
All my life I have had to learn to do things differently. To see the world differently.