Abstract Art and the Ungraceful

The world is full of charm and allure

Art asks us to take a moment to look at the world.

I know, I know, you’re busy. But, it’s good to stop once in a while and have a look around. To think about what’s going on and what stuff means.

Marcus Aurelius, the Roman Emperor and Stoic philosopher, had a very poetic way of looking at the world. He thought “charm and allure” could be found hidden everywhere.

He would often find beauty in the most overlooked places.

In contemplating the “stalks of ripe grain bending low, the frowning brow of the lion, the foam dripping from the boar’s mouth”, he was seeking new perspectives with which to look at the world around him.

If we start to look in new ways, life slowly reveals it’s wonders to us. Looking outwards at the world reminds us of our place in it. How it's about so much more than us and our fragile egos.

This view of the world helped Aurelius stay balanced and calm. Even amid the upheavals of his life and the pressures that came with it.

Clarity in chaos

A lot of art strives for similar perspectives; especially abstract art. Searching for grace in seemingly ungraceful places, artists seek out moments of clarity in chaos.

An artwork can be a simple representation of something specific found in the world, or an expression of an idea or emotion.

A lot of abstract art is self-referencing - it’s art that comments on it’s own creation.

Some artists who work in abstraction look for harmony (or, sometimes, disharmony) in the smallest of events: the turn of a brush on canvas, a simple pencil mark across the page, the effect two colors create when placed side by side, basic forms in composition.

Art as metaphor

Artists find metaphors all around them and pursue these in their artworks. In some ways abstract art is a comparison; an analogy for the alternative views sort by people like Marcus Aurelius.

In my own work I like to simplify the act of painting and representation.

I’m constantly looking for new angles and viewpoints, creating new frames of reference.

Sometimes this could be purely about color or the marks I’m making. Other times I'm taking on more complex ideas that are floating around in my head.

One thing remains the same though - the delight that comes from seeing what others sometimes miss and finding beauty in the unnoticed.

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