Abstract art is not just a mixture of colourful meaningless patterns and arbitrary shapes.
There is, I believe, a definite therapeutic value to be found in most of the enigmatic abstract styles available today. An important decision to make when buying a painting is to carefully consider who the artwork is for and what kind of feelings you want to stir up. You also need to think of where it will be placed. For example, is it for a busy boardroom environment, a single office or room where quick thinking, fast reactions, and serious decision making are required? Is it for a person who comes home every night from a hard days work simply wanting to be visually massaged? Or is it to placed in a space in which people who are gradually loosing their hold on reality are seeking refuge? The possibilities are endless.
Colour plays an obvious healing and therapeutic role. So does the use the use of space in a painting. Think of artists like Mark Rothko and Ellsworth Kelly, who, with their vast areas of empty colour space, bring a general feeling of peace and quiet to an otherwise noisy and hectic environment. You can easily immerse yourself into abstract stillness when you contemplate a large painting with few elements… Erratic, fretful thinking can slow and creative energy can be restored.
Indefinite shapes or patterns by the likes of Jackson Pollock, Peter Lanyon, and Howard Hodgkin (which have inspired so many artists), show a very positive association, and may perhaps persuade a mind filled with illogical thoughts to pause, simply take in the apparent spontaneity, and then take a different direction. Hodgkin style works in particular can be seen as puzzle like canvases in which the observer has no real point of reference so is free to “start” anywhere in the picture. And because there are very few defined areas sometimes the observer inevitably finds himself either regarding the piece with little emotion, therefore freely making a comment – positive or not.
However, an image that has the potential to provoke a negative response can also be of great value to the observer. Indeed, being confronted with a bad association will challenge the observer and as a result, may be beneficial. It’s better to see those negative associations there on the wall than here inside the head. In this case, the classic associations of red for blood and danger, black for death and sin, brown for decay and illness, along with dramatic lines and movements found in a painting are equally valuable stimuli if revealed within the appropriate environment.
This takes us back to the point I was making at the beginning: when choosing a painting, think of who it is for, in which environment it will be seen and what kind of emotions you want to feel and share. Of course, when you look at my art, I hope you do feel that I am trying to bring out positive associations! My colourful paintings hang in vary different environments… private homes, offices, even a dental surgery and a psychiatrist’s practice. No doubt all of them have felt good energy coming from my art and have wanted to share it with others.
I hope that simply looking at my whirling colourful patterns will transport you to a good place but if you are looking for a painting to stir the dark places in your soul, I’m afraid you will have to move along 😉