Theme 2 Abstraction

Abstraction literally means distancing of an idea from objective referents. In simpler terms this means, in the visual artts at least, removing anything from a composition (painting, drawing, sculpture) that is either obvious or real. Abstract art is essentially the opposite of realism (and is sometimes even called nonrepresentational art). So, for example painting a cat sitting in the sunlight on a window sill, the artist producing an abstract piece is less focused on an object in the real world and is more focused on the importance of form, color, feeling, impression, texture, scale, or some other quality.

All students will complete one small assignment for each of the schools and techniques below (total of 8). Student-artists will submit two of these works to be evaluated as part of their method mark. Also, student of all levels will complete one major original composition drawn from either Surrealism, Dadaism or Cubism.

1). Artists. Visit the artist pages and take a look at the work they've produced. Exposing yourself to the work of artistic pioneers can inspire you.

2). Methodlogy. The classroom teacher will set a pace and guide you through the process of studying seven total techniques and three schools of abstraction. We will work in paints, pastels, ink/pencil and digital mediums.

Click here to download the Abstract Art and Assignment Reference Guide.



The artist suppresses conscious control over the making process, allowing the unconscious mind to have great sway.
The use of a photographic collage. Realism is avoided. Strive to create an impression or inspire a feeling in the audience.
Analytical Cubism
This technique stresses the breaking down, or analysis, of form. Right-angle and straight-line construction were favored (and sometimes paintings appear to be almost "sculptural").
A process of spreading thick paint upon a canvas then--white it is still wet--covering it with further material such as paper or aluminum. This covering is then removed (before the paint dries), and the resultant paint pattern becomes the basis of the fiished painting.
Mixing fonts, using different punctuations, printed words both horizontally and vertically; this technique was developed with the print culture of the early 20th century.
Synthetic Cubism
These works emphasize the combination, or synthesis, of forms in the picture. Color is extremely important in the pieces' shapes because they become larger and increasingly more decorative. Smooth and rough surfaces are contrasted with one another; and sometimes non-painted objects (newspapers or tobacco wrappers are pasted on the canvas in combination with the painted areas). This collage technique emphasizes the differences in texture and poses the question: what is reality and what is illusion?
Paranoiac-Critical Method
A technique invented by Dalie consisting of the artist invoking a paranoid state (fear that he self is being manimpulated or targeted by others). The result is a deconstruction of the psychological concept of identity, such that subjectivity becomes the primary aspect of the artwork.