Resolution in art

I am a serious amateur artist. I suppose I could call myself a professional, having sold one painting, but let’s not get carried away.
During my years of interest in art, I was never fond of abstract art, finding it unsatisfactory, unfocussed and arbitrary. I found representational art more acceptable, more satisfying, after all you could tell what it was about, not just a “pattern” of dots, dashes or color, trying to send a message without the necessary code to interpret it.
But, then I became interested in painting ephemeral things, like shadows and patterns of light through slats and criss-crossed structures, like pergolas. In a sense, this is very similar to abstract art, because the picture being painted is not a concrete object, but a changing image that cannot be photographed easily, because it often requires a flash that changes the picture itself (the “uncertainty principle”). In a sense these ephemeral images, like moving shadows or light reflected on the sea, are both real and abstract, or somewhere in between.
It occurred to me that to a great extent the definition of these fashions of painting, abstract or representational, are arbitrary. If you reduce the resolution of a picture, it becomes more unfocussed, more difficult to interpret and can be reduced to a mere collection of splotches of color. For example, take pointillism, the resolution of the picture is reduced from a pure analog painting (with continuous strokes of paint), but the picture remains the same. But, now suppose you reduce the number of points of paint from say 50 per sq cm to 5 filling each sq cm, then the coherence of the picture is changed because the resolution is much less. If each sq cm is reduced to one splotch of color then the picture will become essentially “abstract.” In that case a human can be reduced to a few splotches of color. So the change over from represenatational art to abstract is then seen to be merely a matter of resolution. This can be seen very easily using your computer and changing the resolution of a picture on the screen or to be printed. It is also common in movies, say at the beginning when a series of splotches of color gradually is focussed to become a clear picture of a city or a living room. In this definition, high resolution art is representational and low resolution art is abstract.
I never “understood” Jackson Pollack’s drip paintings, but I liked them, and some are definitely great. But, they resemble the idea I have of the chaos inside a cell, a kind of organized chaos, where chance and predictability are both operative. And some color paintings can be thought of as a close-up of the petals of a flower, or just a pleasing pattern evoking emotive feelings. Whatever, the idea at least allows us to see the evolution of art as a progress from high resolution to low resolution. I prefer the intermediate stage, where one focuses on the representational forms, but not with the classic format that gives every detail. Rather, the impressionistic approach is nuanced, with enough detail but also some fluidity and room for individual interpretation.
_______________________
To see my art go to: www.geocities.com/jackcohenart

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s