Friday, September 05, 2014

This Is Abstract Art

Still Point Art Gallery's current exhibition is Earth Water Fire Air: Our World in Abstract. Jamie McHugh received the award for Best Photograph for his image, Untitled #17 (2007).

Despite the title, you most likely see this photograph as a picture of a beach and a wave receding back into the ocean. Waves rush rapidly onto the beach, their height and intensity becoming smaller and smaller as they move along. Then, all of a sudden, they begin to recede, leaving traces of water sinking into the sand. This happens over and over and over, and you can sense this rhythmic activity in this image.

Jamie McHugh, Untitled #17 (2007)

But, this image doesn't look like the beach; it doesn't look like the ocean. The "sand" is too yellow, and the "water" is too blue.

So, imagine for a moment that this isn't a beach scene. With your eyes you see little more than color fields of deep yellow and sharp blue meeting up with one another, merging with one another, and a line of tension exists between them. In fact, yellow and blue are known as complementary colors—colors that, when placed next to each other, create strong contrast and serve to reinforce one another. You can see the contrast between these colors in this image, and you can see the way the colors support and even intensify each other. 

Now, try to see this image without your mind. How does the image make you feel? What experiences in your life does it remind you of? Are you the yellow part of this image or the blue? Put the image in motion and, with your body, feel the movement. Notice how you and the image interact. Notice how you and the image can become one. This is abstract art.

Christine Cote
Shanti Arts