Continuing conversation on abstraction

This is my response to Tim Jones’ post earlier today on abstract or non-representational art; read his entry here.


Ah, back to it I see. Fabulous!

See my post earlier this week about delegation of art. In it I posited that concept is more important than craft in contemporary art. If concept is indeed more important than craft (which I think would be easy to affirm), I can easily see how abstract or non-representational art proliferates.

There are corners of the art world that are “rebelling” as it were. Last year I noted on this blog a group in the Northwest that gathered to learn classical painting technique.

Saying that the importance of concept is the only reason for the proliferation of abstraction, however, is almost guaranteed to be overly simplistic. I wouldn’t be surprised if such umptions in the art world aren’t also proffered by other parts of the culture, whatever they may be. The use of found objects, for instance, could be a reaction to a wasteful culture. In a society addicted to cheap, mass-produced goods with intentionally short life-spans, it’s very easy to find and utilize (visually and creatively) discarded and disregarded objects. Joel Armstrong does this when creating his small sculptures. The reuse of these found objects adds significant depth and interest to his abstract works.


About pcNielsen
Paul Nielsen founded The Aesthetic Elevator late in 2005. He owns a piece of paper, located somewhere in his house (not on the wall), stating that he earned a B.F.A. from the University of Nebraska around about 2001. While there, he studied studied architecture, graphic design and ceramics, graduating with a degree in studio art. Paul presently serves as communications manager for a small non-profit doing their print design and marketing. He spends as much time sculpting in his studio as possible — which is not nearly enough. Visit his website at

3 Responses to Continuing conversation on abstraction

  1. Tim J. says:

    I have been meaning to come by and comment for a while, but time has prevented me. Thanks for dropping by Old World Swine and for your thoughts on my last post. I enjoyed your comments on delegated artwork.

    I don’t want to spoil my upcoming posts on modernism, but I will say that modern abstraction and modern architecture are intimately linked in more ways than one.

    I always enjoy your posts. You write well. Hopefully, we’ll meet up again at some art function, as we did at Mako Fujimura’s exhibit. Speaking of which, I will have some comments about that soon, as well.

    Peace in Christ.

  2. TAE says:

    Good enough! I track with your posts enough not to miss it, and look forward to reading the rest of your thoughts. You’re by no means a “schlub” when it comes to writing either.

  3. Pingback: Abstract Answer: Semantic shakedown « The Aesthetic Elevator

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