The McGuffin

Abstraction:

I’m trying to get a better handle on the approach that various artists take to painting. I do this as a means to better understand and, perhaps modify my own approach to expressing myself visually.

I’ve had occasion to look up the definition of ‘abstract’ in connection with visual art. My reading about Richard Diebenkorn led me to the following quotation, which amplifies my understanding of the term:

“Abstract means literally to draw from or separate. In this sense every artist is abstract… a realistic or non-objective approach makes no difference.”*

According to Timothy Burgard, Diebenkorn was influenced by a book written by Viktor Lowenfeld, The Nature of Creativity from which comes the following quote:

“Art consists in depicting the relations of the artist to the world of his experiences, that is, in depicting his experience with objects and not the objects themselves.” **

The McGuffin:

‘The McGuffin’ is a term invented by Alfred Hitchcock, for a movie plot device (a stolen painting, or a ticking bomb) that motivates the characters, but not the audience.

Thus, my lesson for the day is to clarify my relationship to the world through the marks I make and the colors I apply to paper, and not on their meaning.

Watercolor: Abstract - Blue & Orange

Blue Orange Abstract
12″x9″ 140# Cold Pressed Watercolor Block


*   The Nature of Abstraction, Richard Diebenkorn’s Berkely Period. by Timothy Anglin Burgard, in: Richard Diebenkorn, The Berkeley Years 1953-1966 by T.A.Burgard, S.A.Nash & E.Acker Yale University Press pg 16 & pg 36

* *  Viktor Lowenfeld The Nature of Creative Activity (1939) fn 54 in The Nature of Abstraction, Richard Diebenkorn’s Berkely Period. by Timothy Anglin Burgard, in: Richard Diebenkorn, The Berkeley Years 1953-1966 by T.A.Burgard, S.A.Nash & E.Acker Yale University Press pg 30

 

3 thoughts on “The McGuffin

  1. Reading that quote about art being expressing the artist’s relationship with objects, I feel inspired and free to focus on creating as a form of contemplation and discovery. I enjoyed the textures in the art in this blog post too. I also hadn’t heard that point about all art being essentially abstract. Something like: separated from its context for the purposes of being contextualised in relation to the artist. Thanks for the learning and inspiration. Happy abstracting to you! 🌻

    Liked by 1 person

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