Project 8 losing myself in abstractions

Well while we have a little heat and hot water I am trying to lose myself into an imagined world and ignore the realities and vicissitudes of my lived life just now. Dad is still in hospital – he has pneumonia now – and the heating engineer won’t be here until Wednesday. 

A comment on my last post helped me connect to the wider world of positivity again. As I result of that I spent the morning desperately trying to mentally escape into my imaged life and moved away from the referents I have been working with so far. As regular readers will have gathered I like formality in imagery but I want it to be expressive. So I turned to this project with these thoughts in mind.

So far I have tried to achieve this by creating honest indexes of the referents, and used framing, backgrounds and processing to determine the level of emphasis I’ve given the subject matter. Often I’ve used framing to ensure a strong subject in the image so that it works both in terms of subject matter and in terms of form. But this project seems different and I’m wondering whether any referent is even needed for me to say or evoke what I want. For example, take this image below. This has been created not through photography but purely by digital painting.

Abstract (2 of 3)

I created the image with anomie and difference in mind and if you look closely you’ll see that while at first sight the image looks like a lot of straight lines there is tiny bit of disruption around the top right hand corner of the image. This disruption represents difference and isolation and otherness at one level and the current disruption my my life at another. I’ve used quite neutral colours so that the image is not as angry as my earlier images in this project and more neutral – this is as if to say that I am resigned to my fate rather than rallying against it.  

When I compare this work to other abstract expressionists I don’t think of such tidy images as mine above. I think more in terms of Bradley Walker Tomlin, Franz Kline or Adolph Gottlieb’s messy images.  Yet if one looks as some of the major artists known as abstract expressionists then people like Mark Rothko’s focus on colour and rectangles or Arshile Gorky’s surreal figurative images come to mind and chime better with my approach. I think there are many formalists who also come very close to abstraction – people like Andrea Grutzner –but their images are not wholly abstract. Here is another image – a photo this time – I created that I would define as abstract formalist.

Abstract plural (12 of 19)


These images seem very close to abstract expressionism but wholly different from many surrealist approaches yet I interpret many of those as emphasising liminality and other worldliness.

It’s 3pm now and the work has been therapeutic. What would I do without the internet, computers and art? It doesn’t bear thinking about….


About Pete

South Londoner struggling with life, art and photography.
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1 Response to Project 8 losing myself in abstractions

  1. Pingback: Transitioning: the Pop up show | anomiepete

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