responding to abstraction
Recently I came across these remarks by Patricia Ryan
on Robert Genn's site
, Painter's Keys: (her comment is in regards to Genn's use of the term "unusually satisfying pattern" to describe what people may be responding to, when they feel an immediate attraction to a painting:)I think "unusually satisfying pattern" nails it, dead on. I have spent many hours trying to figure out why some very abstract paintings corral my interest for years, while others have absolutely no effect on me. When one grabs me, it evokes feelings that I can only rarely express verbally, but nonetheless are solid and memorable. It's like a feeling of connectedness to something I need. Maybe the pattern of lights and darks, or the combination or patterns of colors causes a response in the brain that simply mimics patterns of stimulation associated with really fundamental human responses. Or maybe the patterns are stimulating a function of the brain that current science doesn't understand or even recognize--some kind of non-verbal awareness. Not everyone "gets" truly abstract art, and those who do don't like the same works. So the patterns may be individual
I thought this was quite an interesting take on that mysterious chemistry that happens between painting and viewer. It also occurs to me that her ideas need not apply only to abstract painting, but to any time when the viewer reacts to pure elements of art such as color and contrast--the abstraction that is present within every style of painting.