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With Reference to Abstract Art


Often in my environment people loosely use the term ‘Contemporary’, ‘Modern’ or ‘Expressionist’, of course these may be applicable and relevant but most often they are misused.


In an academic environment one would point out, but in a social setting letting it go seems the better way forward. After all it’s a social conversation and if a person was really interested, then everything is just a click away.


Personally for every question or thought related to art, I must research it thoroughly to understand the period, what happened, the scenario and the players involved, as it helps me for deeper understanding of the choices made by the artists in question.


Having decided to live life as an artist after years teaching and training, the appropriate way seemed to start was by studying the principles of art. This process turned out to be like quick sand, I got sucked into it. Getting lost in academics was easy and there was no time for actually getting messy and painting. The real answers and understanding came by doing. The true knowledge lies in the practice of art and not only in the academic study of it.


With the absence of a roadmap and formula, the biggest learning was that colors and techniques don’t pull together any work of art. Next, there was the fear of the empty landscape of a blank canvas. To get past this fear mark making and choosing the starting colors intuitively, have become the way forward. This has become my process.


The rest evolves and there is a lot of push and pull, and frustrations in this process. To keep myself from being too engaged, working on multiple canvases concurrently, definitely brings chaos yet a feeling of calm. It helps me to move fast between the substrates, stops me from which overthinking. This detachment helps me listen to what the painting is asking of me, it helps in making the better choices a little bit easier. Choosing better over best, as there is no best, for every next move can negate the earlier choices.

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© 2020 by Tarini Agarwal

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