In this theme, most of the images we will look at are NOT pictures of objects we see in the real world. Instead, these images may well remind you of certain experiences, or senses: for example, of sound, or of movement, or of space; of energy or quietness, warmth or cold. They may even cause you to feel certain moods and emotions. Or they may simply draw you into looking – just looking at and thinking about their colours, lines, textures, shapes, and the combinations of these things.
In other words, they suggest and evoke, rather than depict and denote. These are called abstract images.
But if they are not pictures of things we are familiar with, things that we know how to describe – then what can we expect to find in such images? And how can we talk about them? Let’s find out.
We all know what a “line” is, or what the word “colour” means in everyday conversation, and we are also familiar with the concepts of “shape” or “texture”. We use these words when we talk about clothes, gardens or furniture. Here we are talking about lines, colours, shapes and so on, having the potential to create meaning in their own right.
What does abstraction mean? To arrive at an answer, let’s look at some examples.