We hear it all the time: ”I just don’t understand this,“ “I prefer art that means something.” Even worse: “I could do that!”

 It is easy to look at a piece of abstract art and wonder how it made it into a gallery or museum. The truth is, we have all likely asked these questions at one point or another, and unfortunately when we encounter subjects we don’t understand, we easily avoid and move on instead of going deeper.


Three Days To Remember_Rivera_acrylic, graphite, pastel stick_40x60_3750

jennifer rivera “three days to remember” acrylic, graphite, & pastel stick 40″x60″

dk Gallery’s abstract show, Breaking the Rules comes to an end in just a few days, and we don’t want you to miss out. Here are eight ways to gain a better understanding, acceptance, appreciation, and hopefully LOVE  abstract art:

  1. Abstract art doesn’t have tomean anything, so resist the urge to decode it. Often times, and perhaps all the time, whether in abstract or representational art, the purpose of the painting is the paint (or the medium with which it is created) and its relationship to itself. Color relationships, composition, rhythm, contrast, movement.
  2. Looking at and comprehending any work takes time, so make sure you’re not in a rush.
  3. Try not to stress. Simply describe what you see. What is the title? What colors, lines, shape, or forms do you see?
  4. Don’t be afraid to get close and check out the physical properties of the work. What materials and textures do you see? Do you see any layers in the piece? How do you think the artist created the work? Are these properties intentional or accidental?

“Abstraction is staggeringly radical, circumvents language, and sidesteps naming or mere description” – Jerry Staltz

  1. The way we perceive a work of art (or anything for that matter) is influenced by our own experiences. Find a way to relate to the painting. Does the work remind you of anything in your life? How does it compare to the works around it? How does the work relate to other contemporary artists or those in art history?
  2. Analyze the work. How do the elements work together to create space? How does your eye move within the work? What is the most important part of the work?
  3. Going back to point #1, not all work necessarily has a concrete meaning, yet we can still interpret the work. Think about what is happening in the piece. Imagine this painting represents sound- what sound would it make? Do the colors, marks or shapes convey an emotion?
  4. After considering all these things, now you can evaluate the work. Is the work good or is it bad? Do you like it?
canvas 45X35 2015 300 DPI

clara blalock “and it just grew from there” acrylic 45.5″ x 35″

Visit us this weekend for the end of Breaking the Rules: featuring dk Gallery abstract artists, Clara Blalock, Elizabeth Chapman, Helen DeRamus, Gina Hurry, Lorra Kurtz, Karen Laborde, Barbara Nerenz-Kelley, and Jennifer Rivera.

Elizabeth Chapman describes her art as “Educated Spontaneity”.

calm reflections with coral_36x48x2.5_elizabeth chapman_03 - Copy.NEF
elizabeth chapman “calm reflections with coral” acrylic 36″x48″

“Everyone wants to understand art. Why not try to understand the song of a bird? People who try to explain pictures are usually barking up the wrong tree.” — Pablo Picasso

“Abstraction is an intellectual exercise that is rooted in the real world”. Dr Joe Thomas, Professor of Art History at Kennesaw State University

You Spin Me Round_Kurtz_Mixed Media_36 x 48_jpg.9305

lorra kurtz “you spin me round” acrylic 36″x48″

More resources on viewing art:
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