Blog: Just Another Beefsteak Tomato

Christine Alfery

Posted on September 07 2020

Blog: Just Another Beefsteak Tomato
The movement called abstract expressionism came into existence during the 60’s when artists such as Jackson Pollock, Willem De Kooning, Franz Kline, and Mark Rothko created works based on sensations. Their works were gestural. They were searching for the purity in the process of making art, in the process of mark making, in the colors used, in the forms created.
Color fields were created, gestural drip paintings were created, and they were called abstract art because they were based on immediate sensations. They were abstract expressions searching for purity. The artist’s hand was simply making visible those sensations. The viewer’s reactions to those works were based on how the work made them feel. 
This concept of abstraction in art has changed through time. There are still those who paint abstractions based on the immediate flow of paint or the immediate sensation of making a mark, of that mark’s purity. 
Abstract Wall Decor
But for many, the concept of abstract has moved on and the value of an abstract work no longer can rest on sensation or expression.
The work that I create, as do many other conceptual abstract artists, involves thinking. Abstract work is no longer just a search for purity. That type of historical sensational abstract work has been done - the idea has been had, there is no new thought behind it. New ideas and new thoughts lead us to the formation of new concepts. Putting thought into the formation of a new concept is what moves us forward – beyond a rehash of something that already was. The artist must bring these new ideas – it is the value that the individual brings to a conceptual abstract work. Each artist has their own way of thinking, their own story behind a work. The artist who makes the work theirs adds new value. 
What Lies Beneath by Christine Alfery
To repeat what has been done only has the value of the original thinker. Many abstract artists still create artwork that is not based on their individual abstract ideas, but rather are based on someone else’s thought, which came from another’s thought, which is a result of another’s thought. The concepts formed this way are not unique to the person creating the work – rather they are a hybrid. To form and make visible something truly unique is one of the hardest things an abstract artist does. It means creating and planting your own seed. It is easier to follow another’s thinking, to work off something already planted. 
Abstract Wall Decor
Don’t get me wrong, the sharing of ideas and concepts is inspirational and needed. Unfortunately all those ideas and concepts often get mixed together into one big mess – they are not unique and one of a kind, like individuals are. The world of abstract art is full of unformed abstraction needing thought – leaving one weeding though the mess, searching for a concept that isn’t a hybrid. 
Conception aka Creative Thoughts by Christine Alfery
I believe that every unique thought, no matter how big or small, is extremely valuable. How an artist takes that idea – their own unique seed - and plants it is part of who they are. Every artist has a unique set of thoughts that belongs to them alone. While the seed may be based on a hybrid, when an artist adds their own ideas and concepts, only then does it become a work of art.  
If they don’t, they’ll just get another beefsteak tomato. 

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