But is it ‘Abstract’? Art Labels matter

I have argued, forcefully at times, that labels don’t matter.
I was wrong.
Having now been presenting my art to the world for some years, and in doing engaging with a wider community of artists and people who know about all this, I now believe that labels ARE important.

It has become clear to me that every one of us sees through our own lenses, our perspective, norms, values. These give the brain its ability to categorise and to judge everything we see , hear, touch, smell or taste. Reactions to abstract art illustrate this through the often-asked question: “What is it?” and similarly any time I show landscape paintings I am asked “Where IS that?”. So it seems to me that most viewers of artworks actively seek this point of reference before they look deeper into the piece.
For many of us appreciation of the arts, especially musical works, has an evanescence in that the memory of our reaction will fade, so here again, the focal, recognisable features provide vital ‘hooks’ - maybe the name of the opera singer, or the pianist, or the person who was there when that meal was eaten.

I am of course familiar with many different styles of painting within the genre of Landscape, from the classical traditional era of Constable, through Turner, Cezanne, impressionism, expressionism and many others…… do you see what I am doing here? With the mention of each of those triggers, an image comes up in my memory.
How could that happen without labels?

So here goes : CREATIVE EXTRAPOLATION of the Landscape.

This is what I have decided to use as the label for much of my work.

I have enormous respect for those artists who produce paintings which evoke the reaction “Wow! Its just like a photograph…..”
Of course that cry is very rarely true. Every artist brings something to the easel that is carried into their work and puts it beyond photography. But hyper-realism is not a label that works for me.

‘Expressionism’ is also inadequate for me as that claims to be about the sensations the artist feels when gazing on a particular view, or those which are evoked by looking at the work.

At the other end of the spectrum from realism, pure abstract art is supposed to have no relationship at all with reality, and that is also not what I do.
I seek to take some recognisable feature of a landscape and put it into a setting which is beyond any interpretation of physical reality, to give that feature an imaginary and intangible context, to create a multi-dimensional narrative to emphasise the elusive, the transient or the ephemeral. Building on evanescence if you like.

Extrapolation is about the projection of layers beyond known values.  It is a term which originated in statistics and which has floated into the sphere of AI. {Artificial Intelligence}  I seek to apply it to my painting.
Many landscape artists have presented their interpretation of a scene, expressed through some variation of the known, which is interpolation.
Extrapolation goes further, and, I hope, will generate works which can be respected for their own features as much as for the presentation of the physical realities.

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