Does non-representational painting have a future?

I asked the question "does bastract painting have a future" in a post a few days ago, I should have been more clear. I meant to ask whether or not you think non-representational painting has a future (for example: color field paintings, drip style, etc...)

Best Answer

hmmm. that's a tough question. In my opinion, it depends what it looks like, why you're painting in that style, what medium your using...

if artists are painting abstractly, just to be abstract- well I think this method is kind of dead...or should be.

Pollock had his time. Rothko had his time. Picasso had his time. Mondrian...etc. They were an era. Their art was new and exciting and still is. The problem with present day abstract art is that it seems to mimic these artists too closely. It isn't original. It's boring to see a Rothko that was not painted by Rothko.

Art that is being created today, in terms of style, goes all over the spectrum. Abstract, representational, conceptual, non conceptual, performance, animated art, technical art... there are no limits. I think that abstract art, today, is kind of at the bottom of the barrel. Today we want to see art that has a story, a background to the piece, and a conceptual idea behind the piece. Maybe this is my own opinions speaking.

There is a place for abstract art as an interior design tool. Abstract art can be aesthetically pleasing...and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. As a mainstream (in the art world) piece, it's harder to pull off.

When I think of modern day "abstraction" (not necessarily non-representational) I think about Lee Bontecou's drawings and sculptures and Matthew Barney's sculpture work. Matthew Barney's video work has abstract idea... but is not non-representational. His sculpture still represents something does Lee Bontecou's work. I think their abstract work is successful today because there is still a vision behind the abstraction.

I could go on for hours.

(this doesn't show much if any of Matthew barney's sculpture.)
lee bontecou

But hey, I don't know. Some people say painting is dead altogether.

all painting and art represents SOMETHING...
but o.k. say there is such a thing...
yes it has a future, it is still pleasing to the eye, and eye candy will always have a future.

It has as much or more of a future than representational painting. Why would you even wonder?

Abstract painting or 'non-objective' painting includes a wide breadth of painting today. When one looks at abstract painting, it is essentially dealing with painting as a language (the drip, the brushstroke, the color field etc). And, today that langauge is more of a hybrid of subject matter than pure abstraction. There will always be a future for non-representational painting as long as people are painting and trying to dialogue with the history of painting and it's language. Nobody can paint a Rothko or a Pollack today unless they are naive artists. It wouldn't make sense, but what artists are doing today is trying to push the language to say something for our time or to question and conceptualize the entire Modernist lexicon of abstract painting. Jonathon Lasker, Lydia Dona, David Reed, Dennis Hollingsworth, Pia Fries, Shirley Kaneda and Fabian Maccaccio (sp?) come to mind. And, then you have process artists such as Terry Winters. And then you have other hybrid artists who combine various forms abstraction with tattoo and comic based imagry such as Julie Mehretu, Franz Ackerman, and to some extent Celia Brown, who borrows heavily or some say plagerizes Willem de Koonig).
So, no, Abstract painting will never go away as long as you have painters interested in painting as a language. It all comes in cycles. Right now we are in a cycle of image based and figurative painting and we are also in a cycle of people just painting and drawing exactly the way they did in the 18th century. Unfortunately, these artists don't understand the meaning of 'dialoging' with those artists who came before us and they simply plagerize their style. But Abstract painting will always be around, as will process art, as will art about seeing. Conceptual art is in every painting form it's just a matter of degree on which the artist relies on the conceptual lexicon. Whatever the art form, style and language, just enjoy it all.

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