In the last few months, I’ve learned a great deal about modern art and abstraction from British artist Matthew Collings. He has been like a professor that I never had. Not to diminish the value of my professors at Kent State; but the knowledge I got from them was more fundamental. What I’ve learned from Collings on his BBC documentaries: “This is Modern Art“ from 1998, and “The Rules of Abstraction” from 2014, was how this art all fits in this current world.
The documentaries provide me with a perspective that I (and I believe most people) have lacked. Most people instinctively see modern art as elitist, or purposefully obtuse. Collings shows the underlying narrative; and in doing so illustrates how the complexity of modern art mirrors the complexities of modern life.
While there is still a ritualistic, supposed instinctive appreciation for formal representational art, it is enlightening to embrace the expanded creativity of the modern artist. It’s also reassuring for those of us seeking to contribute to the newer narrative.