Is Narration a Component Abstract Painting?

I’ve always thought that to ‘abstract’ something, one condenses it into its essence. Caricaturists do this all the time when they present recognizable portraits of their subjects with prominent  features exaggerated. Most artists try to tell the truth as they see it. Visual artists do so by using color and form that represent the essence of scenes or moods they wish to portray.

Could a process of abstraction be used to create a narrative composition?  I don’t think that expression of an idea needs to follow restrictive rules of the grammar needed to tell a story. However, the concept of communication is clear: a message sent should be the same message received and understood by the receiver.  The beauty of abstract artistic expression is, it doesn’t matter if the message received is the same as the message sent. The creative artist provokes thought in the observer.

Yesterday I referred to Joan Miró’s painting The Beautiful Bird Revealing the Unknown to a Pair of Lovers as a narrative. The title certainly tells a story. I hope to decipher this painting. I am sure there are symbols of a bird and two lovers. I will rejoice when I recognize Miró’s pictorial version of the unknown, which the bird reveals to its human companions.

Through my readings about Miró, I understand he did not consider himself an abstract artist. If this is true, then Miró must have used some sort of pictorial grammar in this work.

I am striving to create a narrative of some of my life’s experience in pictorial form and boil it down to a shorthand that is possible for others to decipher.

Here is another attempt:

Watercolor and Pen and Ink Sketch - Abstract After Miró

Narrative After Miró
9″x6″ 140# Cold Pressed Watercolor Block


5 thoughts on “Is Narration a Component Abstract Painting?

  1. I like the ideas you have expressed here but can anyone ever truly interpret a text or a painting exactly as the artist intends? I think we all bring ourselves to the art work and interprete it through our own perceptions, values and life experience. Abstract art can transmit emotions though as I am sure you are aware. Great to read such a thought provoking blog and great to see someone else is musing about art.

    Liked by 1 person

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