issue 15 // abstract

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a letter from the editor / issue fifteen / the theme of issue fifteen is ‘abstract’. first some definitions. abstraction was an ongoing theme of the modernist century (1860s-1960s). abstraction required that a work have its basis with a real object(s). today, the meaning has stretched to include abstract art imbued with symbolic meaning, abstract art that is socially concerned, and abstract art that captures vision of things that have not yet been seen. in photography abstract work often reflects on the tools and process of photography.

but let’s step back a moment. what is abstract art to the common person? ask someone passing on the street for their definition of abstract art and you might hear the words enjoyable, confusing, boring, decorative. those little white plaques that sit alongside abstract art are notoriously unread. at its worst abstract art has been accused of being anti aesthetic and a poor form of discourse.

an alternative viewpoint is that the consumer of abstract art is experiencing a type of therapy, as philosopher alain de botton might say. in everyday life we hide our insanity. within the bounds of contemplating abstract art our insanity fits right in. this is calming and can be profoundly inspiring.

we may have to concede that the definition of abstract art is shared. the physicist niels bohr summed things up perfectly when he said ‘the opposite of a fact is falsehood, but the opposite of one profound truth may very well be another profound truth’. abstract art can truly be both the most essential and the most non essential of things.

this issue has a number of exceptional artist that cover the length and breadth of abstract art photography. andrea grützner uses the movement of light and precise shadows to symbolically reflect on her childhood memories. jan rosseel in his series ‘on the aesthetics of violence’ questions the relationship between politics and aesthetics, history and memory in images of violence. abstract art can sometimes be the only medium to approach such complex issues. richard caldicott creates custom negatives by cutting and splicing geometric shapes from card. he emphasizes the performative act of the making. our cover artist, brenda biondo in her ‘paper skies’ again deals with process. she examines the perception of color and form within photographs, frequently punctuating her work with quotes from frank stella, mark rothko and georgia o’keeffe.

we hope that we have prepared you for issues fifteen. enjoy.