I have a huge abstract painting by Carolyn Vesely beside my bed that I purchased in second year of university. I love it. It always makes me feel large and omniscient. It is a shape study that I saw when I approached Carolyn to buy a chalk and pencil abstract of hers I had seen in the campus gallery. To me her painting looks like a large cutaway of the earth – like a diagram illustrating the various layers of the Earth’s crust with trees on top.
In discussing abstract photographs yesterday with my grandmother and showing her my latest book – Edge of Vision: The Rise of Abstraction In Photography she made an interesting point. With a photograph of a real thing, as the viewer you recognize it, but with an abstract photograph every viewer brings their own interpretation of what it represents – you draw entirely from your own life experience to interpret what you’re seeing. I see this as similar to a childlike quality essential in our early development. From birth onward children must interpret what they see and infer from experience – in a similar way we do the same with abstract work.
In this new book I flipped through and read an interview of one of the photographers. He made a point that abstract photography is about emotion. This is how I too have often described my work – the emotion of living in a city.