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January 2014 Volume 3 No. 1

VISUAL LANGUAGE contemporary fine art

Barry Scharf


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Barry Scharf

Painting Prisoners of Progress

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Abstract in Painting, A Personal View


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Barry Scharf

Abstract Painting, A Personal View

The trouble with abstract art is that it is easily misunderstood. Artists who create abstractly run the risk of often being dismissed as amateur or worse as frauds. The assumption is that they cannot draw realistically so they make abstract marks. Although this may be true of a few it is not the rule for many a serious painter. This way of thinking about the artist could not be further from the truth. Artists spend a lifetime trying to define their style and approach to the canvas. This is not a frivolous venture; the struggle is real and often hard to understand. Why an artist paints, the way an artist paints and what images are chosen to define what is important is at the heart of every true painter. It is a mind, body and spiritual journey. There are many reasons and approaches to the creation of abstract art. First and foremost is that abstraction is often a part of reality simply taken out of context. Could this be a close up or inset of a larger something not fully defined? In this way isn’t abstraction a form of realism? Like in the way the floral center close-up paintings of Georgia O’Keefe find the abstract in the real. Another way to consider abstract painting is to see and feel the emotion that it expresses through color, shape, line, brush action and motion. These are thought provoking powerful tools of the psyche and are often akin to someone passionately singing or playing an instrument. Do the words matter when the beat is strong and the rhythm driving? More often then not one is carried off on a wave of sound and feeling and less on meaning. Over what is now a lifetime at the easel, like mixing oil and water, I have struggled with bring the abstract and the real together in a cohesive marriage. I am forever in the pursuit of connecting the two worlds at some point of synthesis that allows the viewer to move freely from that, which is known in the mind to that which is felt in the spirit. I often struggle with how much defining characteristics are need to clarify the concept and at what point the emotional strokes will define the mood of the statement. I am not as interested in making a pretty image but rather in evoking an emotional or heart felt response. If I can define both concepts and weave them into a synergistic composition I can often achieve what I am looking for. If the result is beautiful all the better. A good example of this is the painting “Painting Prisoners of Progress,” seen below. Here we see a group of prison striped African Antelope springing through an environment of abstraction and as they try to find a path to safety they pass through a field of unnatural elements and so begin to fade into extinction.

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This painting symbolizes the encroachment of humanity on the wild lands that are becoming lost to us all. Observe the action of brushwork and movement of color. See the dripping shapes and the dark structural forms encroaching?

Painting Prisoners of Progress

Abstract Dremp’t T’was Realism

In another painting “Abstract Dremp’t T’was Realism” (above) I am looking to personify the term “Abstract” to think of it as having human traits. It is longing to be real but can only dream of being so. A passionate plea for connection as seen through a series of implied and wind blown falling leaves as they fall seeming lost through the undefined forms of the abstract space something has happened. One leaf has made the transition and landed in a river of realism! Eureka! Joy fills the dream with spirals and the visual poem is complete. The warm tones of the sun reflect across the water the rocks mirror themselves in the surface and the leaf casts it’s shadow. To the right a stone head rises as if to get a better look. The soft reality plays off against the bold lights and darks of the abstraction. https://barrywscharf.squarespace.com/


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Barry Scharf

As a painter in my studio I often listen to all kinds of music. For me, it is a part of the creative environment and often infiltrates the mood and direction a painting will take. To this point I have discussed a blending of two forms of painting an you may be thinking that I am not playing fair, that these are not true abstractions in the purist sense of the word. I have to admit that I am not following any rules here. So I offer another painting below, for your consideration. “Abstraction 24� is not based on any real images instead it is a visual structure based on music. Here the forms move in a dance of shape shifting and color contrast. There is a lot of brush action and contrast from white to black. There is an underlying score of Hebrew text that infers a chant and the verity of elements plays like an orchestra of instruments in a harmonic symphony of elements. The artist is the composer and conductor while the viewer is the audience.

Abstract 24

Yellows play against blue, red compliments green and there is a balance of white and black all the while line dances from thick to thin as we move across strong vertical divisions. https://barrywscharf.squarespace.com/ http://scharf62.blogspot.com/ www.linkedin.com/pub/barry-scharf-mfa/4/b29/3a0/

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Abstract 66

Another pure abstract is “Abstract 66� it is not concerned with defining any reality even though one may be implied. This work was designed to create the illusion of a red form not attached to the green surface but rather floating out in front of it. Below we feel the pressure of the dark blue thick strokes as they struggle to brake free from the pressures compressing them. We feel the squeezing of the shapes and the tightness of the forms set in contrast to the freedom of the small red shape ready to float away. I am often in awe of the paint when I am finished with a work such as this. It seems to have been effortlessly created, no marks out of place, nothing extra needed, the result of a lifetime of standing at the easel. It is the reason I keep coming back for more.

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Barry Scharf Abstract Art January 2014 Visual Language Magazine Vol 3 No 1  

Abstract Painting, A Personal View by Barry Scharf