At first glance, VERTICAL FORMS appears to be a highly structured, abstract colorfield painting. And while there is certainly some truth to this, there is more to this painting than meets the rational eye. It has an architectural feel reminiscent of columns with a break on the mid left hand side of the painting that appears to be an opening of sorts into a bluish, almost watery looking environment.

Based upon my experience as a painter and theorist in metapsychology, I tend to agree with artists like Pablo Picasso and Mark Rothko that there is no such thing as truly abstract art because it is impossible for a work of art to be about nothing. Every piece of art has a starting point whether the artist experiences that as an overt, well defined idea or as nothing more than a diffuse, blunt impulse to throw down some paint. That starting point, particularly in the case of the latter, is the initial expression of some ‘thing’ that actually does exist beneath the threshold of consciousness. The legitimate question is, as the mystified often ask about abstract art, what is it?

Answering that question is a function of two things. The first is self awareness. The second is the ability to interpret the symbolism contained within seeming abstraction. Self awareness means that one is paying attention to both their inner and outer worlds and has some grasp of the connection between the two. If self awareness is present, that is if the conscious mind is able to engage with both the outer world and its own subconscious realm in a reasonably integrated way, then the symbolic language of the subconscious expressed in abstraction is decipherable with a bit of attention…

‘VERTICAL FORMS’ 48”X48”, mixed acrylic media on canvas, Denise Marts, 2021, all rights reserved

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