Nonrepresentational Art and Disparate Realities
Updated: Dec 6, 2021
When I was much younger, a wise older woman once said to me during a conversation, "I'd rather you didn't say I understand so easily." To express that I was connecting with her, I had been efficiently devouring information and immediately labeling them understood. However, she was in a completely different state of mind, merely hoping to share a moment of contemplation and leaving things open-ended. This is in fact, the kind of mindset that is also needed to enjoy an artwork. It's essential when it comes to the type of art that I create, which is nonrepresentational.
Nonrepresentational art is a type of abstract art. As the name suggests, the abstracted images are not literal representations of objects in real life. In other words, images are not the result of simplifying or distorting a figurative form. For example, a white rectangular shape can reference a block of tofu in abstract art. But in nonrepresentational art, a similar-looking shape usually does not reference anything specific in the visible world. Instead, they reside in a different reality created by the artist. Disparate realities are not exclusive to art and artists. They exist everywhere.
My parents are both in their eighties and are doing physically well but have been showing signs of aging, which sometimes makes communication a challenge. What I feel has most changed is their sense of logic and order. It is as though the latticework of structure in their minds has weathered away, leaving symbols and images floating and drifting. Connecting with them without being frustrated has been an ongoing issue of mine until this recent epiphany. I realized that they, too, live in a disparate reality that seems somewhat disconnected from the rest of the world. The key is not to be judgmental but instead, take it in as it is and enjoy exploring their unique universe.
Studio, one day in September 2021