Friday, September 26, 2008

Urban Jungle - Another Abstract Piece

acrylic abstract painting of urban jungle
Some years ago on a visit to the University of Michigan Museum of Art, I was awed by a much publicized exhibit the title of which I no longer remember. The exhibit occupied the entire main hall of the museum and consisted of 5-6 canvases, each about 60”X90”. All were completely blank with not even one brush mark of paint on them! An extensive artist statement went on to describe something about how the canvases represented a bold statement about the emptiness of the human condition, and so forth.

Displays like that probably contribute to the average viewer’s belief that abstract art can be done by anyone. I can recall seeing other examples of works in museums across the US and Europe that leave one puzzled as to why the piece is on display. A simple blob of one color on top of another says little to me either about the inspiration of the artist nor their command of the medium or technique. On the other hand, great abstract art can convey the tremendous inspiration and energy of its creator without requiring any philosophical assumptions by the viewer.

I did Urban Jungle in between some of the other works. Though a small piece, it was hard work with many steps. The paints were layered and lifted with both knife and brush. The textured appearance on the upper right was achieved by swirling and lifting paint rather than by adding thick paint. The composition is based on Bob Rankin’s idea of an uneven edge ratio in an abstract painting as a method to create interest. It seems to work.

Urban Jungle, Acrylic on 140lb watercolor paper, 6”X9”, Not for sale


  1. Lots of texture with interesting color and shape.

  2. Lovely abstract! Well designed and great color punch. I came across your blog by way of Carol Schiff and thought I would visit.

  3. Thanks you, Carol and Theresa. Abstracts are by far the most enjoyable style for me because of the freedom they provide. Of coure, they also provide the drive to work with other styles!