Basharat Bashir

“Abstract Art: An Escape from Artistic Skill

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In recent times, the art world has witnessed a proliferation of abstract works, often championed as innovative and revolutionary. Advocates of abstract art argue that abstract art is a departure from traditional artistic skills, freeing creators from the constraints of representational forms. However, it’s crucial to critically examine whether this departure is a true liberation of artistic expression or a flight from hard work and systematic practice that artist needs to go through to develop an unparalleled skill.

advocates of abstract art often claim that it transcends the need for finely honed skills and academic training. They argue that splatters, smudges, and drips on a canvas can be aesthetically pleasing without the need for meticulous composition, realistic representation, or deep knowledge of artistic techniques. Although many artists have ruled the art world creating pure abstract art but, this perspective creates a difficult challenge especially for art students who find themselves bewildered on weather to learn artistic skill or go for abstract art straightway. The appreciation of abstract art has led to an unending debate weather  the traditional view that art is the selective recreation of reality, and artistic skill its insuperable component has any value if  art is to be divorced from any fundamental reference.

Abstract art, in this sense, is often described as “non-objective” or “non-representational,” with the emphasis placed on the physical act of creating rather than on conveying a specific idea or emotion. However, this departure from representation raises the question of whether abstract art is truly an expression of artistic skill or the rejection of the mastery of skill demonstrated by old masters, the idea which its visual representation  represents promotes. Abstract artists like Mark Rothko who has acclaimed worldwide fame creating paintings of mere color. In his artworks there is no representation of whatsoever and academic skill does not seen to have any place while creating such paintings. Total abstraction where one can hardly find any representation of any sort and sidelining of academic artistic skill to draw and paint creates a difficult scenario where role of art institutions comes in question. There are many art students who after realizing the success of abstract artists tend to avoid practice of drawing and sketching and opting for abstract art without having any clue what they are painting.

Abstract art although it has broadened the spectrum of art field has also constrained its interaction ability with public. An artwork that’s pure abstract makes it difficult for the viewer to engage unless the artist is there to be consulted. Abstract art lacks the basic idea of art that is described as a medium of expression surpassing the boundaries of language. An abstract art piece fails to communicate without words of artist describing it, its dependence for verbal or written description does not make it a universal language. I fail to understand if art is capable of creating revolutions and bringing political and social changes why should it be so complex for general audience to understand. Art must be clear in expressing its purpose to viewers in general and its meaning must not be constricted to art critics and people dealing with that subject.

Abstract art has created revolutions but within the art field. It has been able to create a worldwide transformation for the meaning and use of art, but it has also erased the boundary that distinguished art from non art. It has led us to a time where anything can be art and anyone can be artist,there is no skill, no academic training required to be an artist. And people who have   argument against abstract art as a legitimate form of artistic expression extends to its claim of being an escape from formal principles. How an artwork which fails to engage its audience and  fails to make any relationship within the community its created in be considered as a good artwork. Critics argue that describing an abstract painting as “about paint itself” or “about the formal principles of painting”or the idea that act of creating art is more important than the actual artwork is a shallow justification. This approach, they contend, reduces the art form to a superficial game, lacking the depth and meaningful engagement that an artwork is supposed to be about.

Moreover, the distortion of the term “abstract” in the context of modernist art is highlighted. While modernists associate “abstract” with the absence of meaning outside of the artwork itself, traditionalists emphasize the original meaning of abstraction as a representation or stand-in for something real. This semantic shift contributes to the belief that much of abstract art is, in fact, meaningless and self-referential.

The notion that abstract art is an escape from artistic skill is challenged by examining the creative process. Unlike traditional artists who draw inspiration from the tangible world and undergo extensive training in techniques such as anatomy, cast drawing, and careful research, abstract artists may not engage with the real world in the same profound manner. The question arises: Can the mere act of splashing paint on a canvas or creating aesthetically pleasing color combinations be considered an authentic manifestation of artistic skill?

Although abstract art is globally celebrated but its lack of involvement with public and issues outside art world has shrunken the role of art. Budding Artists who without any in-depth understanding of art and importance of extensive artistic training fall to the glamour of abstract art find themselves trapped in an artform where they fail to express their emotions and ideas. In my opinion, I believe that the emergence of extreme art forms, such as body art and certain types of performance art where the artist intentionally inflicts harm upon themselves to convey a message, stems from the perceived inadequacy of abstract art in effectively communicating ideas.

The debate over abstract art raises questions about the true nature of artistic expression, the role of skill in the creative process, and whether the abandonment of representational forms leads to a meaningful and profound artistic experience or is it a genuine escape from artistic skill and training.


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