When studying Canadian Art, or any form of art, there are a large number of artists that you can draw upon for inspiration. They range in age, era and style. They also range in types of material from drawing, painting, photography, and so on. For me, where I like to start a new artist is with Guido Molinari. Guido is a Canadian abstract artist from Montreal whose works have been shown in most (if not all) Canadian major museums. I could go on about his history as a leader in Canadian linear abstraction and all the great things he did for Canadian Art as well as the abstract movement but I will instead stick to the art as it is and the theory behind it.
When discussing Linear and Colour abstraction, or even negative space, Guido Molinari’s works will be one of the main artists that should come to mind. Now most people will say the usual... “It’s just lines, my 5 (2, 8, whatever) year old can do that”. My answer to this is.. “Yes! Ain’t it great?” and people look at me like I’m crazy. Abstract art is one of the major examples of Process vs Product. They don’t care if the tree looks like the actual tree, they don’t care if there is a house or if the painting “makes sense” in a realistic view. Instead it’s about the process, and the materials used. I will explain it this way... Abstract art is Painting to show Paint... or colour... or movement. It’s about the colours that you use, and the use of your body to create a line or the paint itself.
Linear or Colour abstraction is about the colour... about questions like “what is red? What does RED mean? How do we express RED for RED!?” or even broader questions like “What is paint? What is colour? And how do they relate to each other?” If you look at most of Guido’s work you can probably ask one of these or another similar question and see the progress he makes. He starts with a concept and as the concept expands he creates more to explore the ideas and expand his own need to learn. Abstract art is never stagnant. It is always moving.
Now for the big question... How does this relate to learning art? (Especially in a PDD or new artist perspective)
Well Abstract art is all about the concept of Process over Product. When working with the PDD community (from Autism to Down syndrome and most anyone in between) I realized that many “workers” ended up trying to over help my students. We, as a society, get it in our heads that we have to create a carbon copy of the teacher’s works. That art is creating likenesses of real things, and that we must do it the way we are told. This is wrong! Art is about exploration... of oneself, the medium and the process... it’s about having fun and expressing oneself any way we can. This is the best part of Abstract art... there is no right or wrong! Anyone can create movement, colour, and line (And I never said straight lines)! By starting my students on Abstract Art, and giving them the tools to create how they want to, the “workers” thought less about correcting their trees and trying to create a carbon copy of my work, and started helping more fuel ideas and allow the students to find their own way of doing things. I have recently talked to people in other aspects of care... early childhood educators, Persons with Developmental Disability workers, Retirement community workers, etc... They have all been adopting the idea that the best way to learn something is to give the student the tools and help them on their journey to create (NOT correct)!
So Lets Create!
Activity: One Colour Painting is related to this post!