There is a schism that exists in the art world. It is between realist artists and abstract artists. Or increasingly common, the names are illustrators and what I shall reveal later.
First of all calling realist artists illustrators is, I think, a shot by the abstract artists. Why? Well first of all, artist is now omitted from the title. Secondly, look up the definition of illustrate. Art isn’t the 1st intention of the craft. My dictionary defines illustrate as 1. to make clear or explain, as by examples or comparisons. 2. to furnish (books etc.) with explanatory or decorative drawings, pictures, etc. Notice how explain is in both definitions.
And abstract artist is not a full enough name for what those artists do. For instance, last week in the comments section of this blog, we had the example of an artist putting a urinal on display as being a piece of art. This isn’t abstract at all. It’s so realistic, it’s the real thing. I think most people would agree with me that this behaviour belongs more with the abstract artists than the realist artists. But if we include it, the word abstract no longer fully applies.
What is this type of art then? I’ve heard the new abstract described as various answers to the question “What is art?” Now this sounds to me like a very boring conversation – one question for innumerable pieces of work. So it probably will not surprise you that I am more of an illustrator (I do political cartoons and plain cartoons). But maybe this one question can help sum up the new abstract art for you. Since it is a conversation, I now dub abstract artists and their brethren talkers.
That’s right, they’re trying to push the term illustrators and get realist art further from the “art world”, so I just want you to know that talkers aren’t necessarily artists either, even if what they do appears visual. And most people know it’s true in their hearts. How many of us have been in a gallery and asked “What’s that supposed to be?” And then heard an explanation. To me, it appears that the talking is more important than the art.
So that is the name I drag into service and is also my shot over to the abstract and related world.