Broken Abstraction

September 27, 2011

So I’ll follow through on what I’m thinking with making the image you see below tomorrow when I’m less punch-drunk but what I’ve been avoiding and am having to reckon with is that three years ago I was a fake war photographer and now I’m making abstract art.  Or I would be making abstract art, but the problem is that the art’s not abstract.  Instead of producing documentation of war games I’m producing documentation of objects that by themselves hold no narrative/representational value.

It’s photographic abstraction, but worlds away from the Stieglitz et al. stuff in terms of history and aim because what I’m narrowing in on in the works that don’t contain text is the question of what abstraction is and means.  A friend alerted me to this (thanks Adam) and used a linguistic example of his I should share: could you call something an abstract abstraction?  Meaning is “abstract” descriptive or nominative, does it describe something or is it something?  Or both?  Or neither?

Here’s the image, modeled after earlier grids but with one tweak that really spins it because the line between what’s drawn and what’s “real” is only apparent at very close range.  Closer than you would ever ordinarily get to an image.  More tomorrow.


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