Abstract art is a non-representational style of art in which form and color are the primary focus. While logic, perspective, and an attempt to reproduce the natural world form the basis for realism, abstract art is grounded in the artist’s imagination. Abstract artists express their interpretation of a subject with varying departures from reality ranging from slight (one conspicuous element altered) to total abstraction (no resemblance to anything recognizable). The emotional and subjective components involved in the creation of abstract art allow for individual viewer interpretations.
The abstract art movement, historically identified during the early 20th century, reflected a time of diverse theoretical, social, and intellectual thought stemming from advancements in Western science, technology and philosophy. Impressionism and Expressionism of the 19th century were early influences on abstraction. However, it can be argued that the roots of abstract art can be traced back further to ancient times when symbolism was used to represent objects.
The current art exhibit in the Max Chambers Library, All About Abstracts, features a few works by abstract artists included in the Melton Art Reference Library (MARL) Collection, currently managed by the Archives & Special Collections. Paul England, Caroline Farris, and Carl Pansky’s landscapes demonstrate varied degrees of abstraction: England’s work depicts a more subconscious, surrealist image while Farris’s work is a more recognizable representation. Winnifred Hawkins’ Artists Table #4, J. Jay McVicker’s Red Black Grey I, and Kay Hubbard’s untitled paper collage all focus on line and color, but only one work features discernable objects.
Kristi Kohl, Library Archives Specialist