Happy Friday, friends! Time to throw off the burdens of the workweek (if you’re of the 9-5 camp) and cut loose. This is kind of what abstract art does for me. It brings me a sort of delicious mental stillness while it excites other parts of my brain that I normally have to suppress or ignore in favour of more practical concerns.

With abstract art, I am not called to see things in an orderly fashion or make an impressive interpretation of the implications of the colour blue used on the model’s dress. I can let my mind wander over the lines, shapes, colours, and contrasts. It’s calming and rejuvenating.

How do you experience abstract art?

For some people, it’s more stressful than the traditional paintings—of people, chairs, flowers, and such—because you can’t tell what it’s supposed to be. If you find that to be the case for you, I suggest throwing out the idea of identifying anything in an abstract painting, and focusing on what you feel, what ideas or memories spring to mind. You might find yourself in interesting places. 🙂

Check out Julie Mehretu, for example.

Julie Mehretu is an impressive contemporary American artist originally born in Ethiopia, raised in Michigan. I am deliberately not saying anything about what the art world thinks of Mehretu’s work because we don’t need to know!

Where do you go when you look at her work?

For me, at first, I feel dismissive, but when I deliberately slow myself down to really look, I feel curious and calm. I can see many different things at the same time. This picture below brings to mind birch bark, waves, Hiroshige’s distinctive wave paintings. Then over to pencil marks and rubbed graphite, cracked pottery glaze. Huh!

I find I can rest in this mental movement… and then my mind starts to make the marks into birds and helmets… aahhh 🙂 .

I’m curious to know. How do you experience abstract art like this?? Please share your experience in the comments, and have a really nice, hopefully rejuvenating, and perhaps even inspired weekend.

Yours,

Julie

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