Abstract art is the expression of an artist’s now. The word abstract itself means to remove something from another thing. It’s a separation of realities that in the art world allows artists to express themselves in the now with shapes, colours, gestural marks and mixed media in a sporadic or controlled fashion.
In the world of abstract art there are many differentiation realms that add to the movement with geniuses like Pablo Picasso founding the genre of cubism and contributing greatly to the movement, Henri Matisse whose abstract tendencies immensely lent to the founding of Fauvism and the ‘acceptance’ of Abstract Art as a whole.
Apart from the pioneers who allowed the Abstract Art movement to sprout new legs and leap into the innovative spheres of colour and texture, Abstract Expressionism might have been the art form that took the ‘abstract’ ideologies into full gear.
While Mattise and Picasso both focused on subject matter, the likes of Pollock, Rothko and Kandinsky let their shapes, lines and depth speak for themselves, removing the subject matter entirely from the background, foreground and the canvas’ ground entirely.
Known as one of the major figures in Abstract Expressionism, Pollock was a volatile personality whose personal afflictions often got in the way of his art, and eventually led to his early death at the age of 44.
Jackson Pollock was married to Lee Krasner, an Abstract Expressionist whose work inspired the previously, not so successful landscape painter, to create abstract works with a method he pioneered: action painting by drip technique.
Jackson Pollocks works are some of the most captivating Abstract Expressionist works as seen in the MoMa in New York City and Tate Modern in London.
A Russian-American whose influence on the Abstract Art world is by far the most challenging and provoking. Not only did Markus Rothko challenge the crux of painting, he also very much put his foot down to mediocrity, rejecting commissions he felt his artwork would not respected by.
Like Pollock, one of his greatest patrons was Peggy Guggenheim and a great bulk of his work can be found in the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao as well as the notorious collection of works found in the Rothko Chapel in Huston Texas.
His two, sometimes three tone canvases prepared on rabbit skin glue grounds have been subject to fraudulent replication adn production, making his entire collection a taboo topic within the art collector’s world.
Locally, Malta also saw a surge in Abstract Art, with big name artists such as Esprit Barthet, Emvin Cremona, Alfred Chircop, Gabriel Caruana and many others contributing greatly to the school of expressionism as a whole.
Often overshadowed by his brother Alfred Chircop, Philip is an artist who delivers his messaging with warmth, depth and inspirational colouring that resonates not only with the soul but the psyche.
The late artist’s artist’s interest in cosmic experiences, formlessness and ambiguity is what allows his two-dimensional paintings to broaden our understanding of the idiomatic expression of local Abstract Art.
Harry Alden was an artist loved by many, his dedication to his students and hard-edge technique is what allowed him to stand out as one of Malta’s most successful artists of the 20th and 21st centuries.
Alden is best recognised by his block work where controlled lines, even when subject matter is present, is easily categorized as Abstract work. His work is a stand-point in local artistic representation that contributes greatly to the inspiration of contemporary art in Malta.
Abstract Art as a whole in Malta has seemed to live a prolonged life, from the mid 1900s to this day, managing to gain appeal amongst its viewers and intrigue in the art world per say. Rosette Bonello is a local artist whose artwork belongs to the world of Abstract Art but goes beyond the realms of Abstract Expressionism.
She belongs to an art genre that is titled Arte Informale, what many would argue is the Italian version of Abstract Expressionism. Rosette goes further to explain that she classes herself as an Informal Artist because her work carries a whole lot more meaning and feeling, as seen with the works of art; Love and Light from the collection Symbiosis, Behind Every Cloud is Another Cloud from her Pink Period and of course Metamorphosis that easily sums up the emotion and depth of her Green Period.
Other Abstract Artists who did not belong to Abstract Expressionism, but the Arte Informale scholl instead include Alberto Burri and Luciano Fontana – two of the movements biggest names with the greatest, most impactful artworks that helped shape the development of art as we know it.
While abstract art, as a whole, might not always carry subject matter, it always seemingly connects with the soul. The art of all the aforementioned artists, Rosette Bonello included, make use of colour, shape, depth and dimension to deliver a communicative therapy with the viewer.
When art speaks to a human’s soul, be it a positive, negative or perplexing delivery, the art piece itself, and in turn the artist, has left an impression on a human receiver, one whose emotions were stirred by a structured dispersal of coloured media on a canvas. This is abstract art.