Figuring out what I wanna be when I grow up.
Oop..I AM grown up...

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Random Ranting: I Hate Abstract Art

"Belle Zed" by one of my very favourite artists, Stephen Mackey (

I was just having a little fun here in the blog world (thus far I have resisted referring to it as the Blogospere or Blogsphere, or whatever the hell the rest of y'all call it), simply by hitting the "next blog" button on the top of my blog page. It's like pulling the handle of a slot machine--you never know what will come up. Also, if you'd like to add in to this analogy that you can pull the handle on a slot machine 50 times and never win, by all means do so. I'm not trying to be an arrogant prick with that last comment, but honestly, it's surreal how much garbage there is out there.

Ahem. I've probably put my seemingly-not-arrogant-but-jerk-sounding-just-the-same foot in it. Whatever.

So, first of all, it's fascinating to me--absolutely fascinating how many blogs there are on here that are simply about people being a family. Or, about a couple and their love. Does everybody really think that their mundane life is really that freaking interesting? Don't give me any lectures about the pot calling the kettle black. I can dig it. I write about my everyday world. However, I like to think I branch out a little further than the rainbow, pink ribbon, heartshaped candy box these peeps think they're living in.

This isn't going well. I may be entering into PMS territory. Just sayin'.

And yet, why am I surprised? If you meet 10 new people, how many of them, would you say, are going to be "listeners," rather than "talkers"? How many of them will simply wait for you to finish talking just so they can continue their self-starring monologues? Are we all most interested in ourselves, because that's who we have to live with more than anyone else???

Okay, so enough about the huggy snuggy "we just got engaged, here is the story of our life, our love and all the silly little things that happen in between! Giggle, SQUEEK!" blogs. As I was pulling the lever, if you will, I came across a blog wherein the lady was promoting her art. Cool, I really dig art. I love amateur art. I don't love ALL art though. I can't bear quaint art, and that's fine if you like it--it probably looks lovely hanging in your living room. However, you can keep those pictures of little girls and boys skating on a rink in front of their lovely, be-ribboned turn of the century (think more, "Little House on the Prairie") home. I'm also really not a fan of what I like to think of as "Dentist's Office Art." You can picture it--a dilapidated barn sitting on a grassy knoll beside a stream that goes nowhere. Blech. I think art should make you THINK and FEEL and should show that no matter how much some shmuck wants to, not everything can be called art if it doesn't present itself as a result of a great deal of talent. So this begs the question: is the quaint stuff not art? Well, it's probably drawn out well, and does show talent, but it doesn't evoke a lot of thought (in my opinion), so it's certainly not my kind of art. I guess it's art just the same. And now I'll back out of this before I both confuse and totally contradict myself.

What I really hate--what I really can't stand is ABSTRACT ART. For an example of some abstract stuff that truly makes me bananas, go here . I had the same art teacher twice in highschool. She was quirky, quick tempered and I really liked her. We went on a field trip one time, and while in the abstract art section of the gallery, she said, before anyone else could say anything; "Now, don't tell me 'I could do this,' because you COULDN'T, and you DIDN'T." Fair enough, but I wonder just the same. Is anyone going to tell me that an abstract painting is a work crammed with as much talent as this? Granted, Bouguereau may not be your cup of tea, and his work may have become somewhat trite, thanks to being turned into "calendar art" (50% off after Christmas!). In another gallery, I once saw a painting that was simply, thick white paint layed on the canvas. It looked like a vanilla cake, iced with peeks and waves the way my Mom used to do it. I believe it was then that I thought; "okay, that's it. This sucks." Yes, yes, someobody else may have loved it, but not moi.

Now, who can recall the interesting little controversy over an abstract work purchased by the National Art Gallery of Canada back in the late 1980's? Well, let's just cut and paste that, shall we:

Voice of Fire is an acrylic on canvas painting made by American painter Barnett Newman in
The purchase of Voice of Fire by the National Gallery
of Canada
in Ottawa for its permanent
collection in 1989 at a cost of $1.8 million caused a storm of controversy, as
the painting consists only of a red stripe on a blue background.[1]
Some residents mocked the purchase with striped T-shirts and ties that mimicked
the painting.[1] A
book called Voices of Fire: Art Rage, Power, and the State, edited by Bruce
, Serge Guilbaut and John O'Brian and published in 1996 by the University of
Toronto Press
, discusses the issues around the purchase of the painting.[2]

(see "Voice of Fire" from Wikipedia)

Am I wrong, or didn't some guy reproduce this on the side of his barn? Oh wait, remember what my art teacher said; "Don't tell me 'I could do this,' because YOU COULDN'T, and YOU DIDN'T." Ha ha on us, here's your sh*tty art. Oh but wait, didn't I say that art should make you think and feel? Well, kudos to you Barnett Newman. It certainly has done that.

And so I return to my original statement: I hate abstract art. I looked at some of the lady's paintings, as they were displayed on her blog and grumbled, and said to my husband, "gee, would you like to buy that?" Nor would I. Personally, it makes me think of finger painting for adults. How unsophisticated I must be, you are now thinking. Well, there's a perfectly gorgeous abstract art piece on my sister's wall. The colours are magnificent. I believe it's an untitled work, created by her daughter who is ONE.

Here endeth this rant.


  1. I couldn't agree with you more Karen about hating Abstract Art and all those mushy yuk young love blogs!
    For me art has to make me feel good...feel calm i suffer from huge anixety disorder and i want to look at a painting a feel relief if that makes sense. Abstract stresses me out and i get enough of that from my mother.

  2. well, there you have it. No random flecks of paint for you then!

  3. Go get 'em, Karen! Though I have to say that I like the odd and slightly-disturbing work of artists like Francis Bacon and Michael Sowa. I don't know what that says about me, but perhaps you can blog about those styles.

  4. well, now I'll have to look those styles up. Hooray! I love the internet!

  5. I can not stand it either. When my son came home raving about how good Jackson Pollock is, I really had to bite my tongue. The man threw paint at the canvas, and I think he was insane. Pure bullsh*T. I am a person who wants to see barns and flowers, that look like barns and flowers. I do not like having to see a piece of paper under the picture that has to tell me what the painting really is, not just paint plopped on a canvas.

  6. well said, Alaina. I guess some of it is okay--like, when there's a complex use of geometric shapes and colours, but that paing, plopped on the canvas, as you put it, really drives me crazy.

  7. I love abstract art (not all, clearly) and I love Bouguereau (also not all) and I love a good rant so I enjoyed this post enormously. Yay for eclectic tastes.

    1. well yay for YOU for stopping by to read my rant! Thanks very much. Yeah, maybe I actually hate "quaint" art more than I hate abstract...must ponder this...


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