Category Archives: Abstraction

Synthesis Equalizes

Principle of spontaneity
Tends to infinity
Limiting nature

Schelling’s philosophy of nature builds a process stack in which individual items initially seem independent and unrelated, but which in truth function within a relative totality. His thought stands in opposition to the Newtonian picture of matter as constituted by inert, impenetrable particles.

“Insofar as we regard the totality of objects not merely as a product, but at the same time necessarily as productive, it becomes Nature for us, and this identity of the product and the productivity, and this alone, is implied by the idea of Nature, even in the ordinary use of language.” – Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling

Redundantly Disparate

Urban mapping
Define context
Private view

Truth is the stuff of our own mental construction. Meanwhile, the unresolved nature of existence is a large component of its authority.

“The appearances of natural objects are in themselves meaningless; the essential thing is feeling – in itself and completely independent of the context in which it has been evoked.” – Kasimir Malevich

Crucial Catalyst

Intense engagement
Succinct articulation
Artistic insight

Rationality is the disposition of acting by reason. But is rationality a human imposition on reality, or something actually present in an independent existence? In either case, the external world must inform its human expression.

“All art should become science and all science art; poetry and philosophy should be made one.” – Friedrich Schlegel


Definitely determined
According to conditions
Described nature

Leading to adaptation, future anticipation depends on comprehending uniformity. Cognitive processes trace homogeneity by designating apparently equivalent phenomena in the same classification. Similarities naturally produce purposive action.

“On the one hand they make the phenomena of the world classifiable and thereby comprehensible; and on the other hand they make possible the development of an organ of comprehension called reason.” – Paul Carus

Spatial Form

Modernist assumptions
Spiritual implications
Stylistic differences

To arrive at meaningful descriptions we must move away from exactitude. Not only are all visual images abstractions, but in alliance the rigorous sciences also are fabricated upon inexact representations.

“The work of art, as an autonomous organism, stands beside nature on equal terms and, in its deepest and innermost essence, devoid of any connection with it, in so far as by nature is understood the visible surface of things.” – Wilhelm Worringer


Inscription information
Visible impression
Stain trace

Abstract and concrete are classifications that indicate whether an expression describes an object with a physical denotation or one with no physical referents. These translated asphalt markings dwell in a middle ground, helping to formulate generalized ideas.

“The familiar material objects may not be all that is real, but they are admirable examples.” – Willard Van Orman Quine

Improvisation Spontaneity

Formal invention
Reflective gesture
Significant content

In a tour of an industrial printing plant, random ink spillage is here visually organized into an abstract expression. Found ancillaries derive their art identity from the designation divulged by the artist.

“We favor the simple expression of the complex thought.” – Barnett Newman

By Way of Which

Directed at
States of affairs
Immanent objectivity

Conscious human beings are not merely affected by environmental conditions, but are also conscious of things as things: physical objects and events, selves and other persons, and abstract thoughts and propositions. Establishing a relationship to existence, most of the events that comprise mental life have this distinguishing attribute of being “of” or “about” something.

“Intentionality is what characterizes consciousness in the pregnant sense and which, at the same time, justifies designating the whole stream of mental processes as the stream of consciousness and as the unity of one consciousness.” – Edmund Husserl

Material Support

Aesthetic reality
What is shown
In the light

Imagination is the gift that germinates creative thoughts and bestows surprise in the mundane. Allowing for focus only on an idea while excluding everything else, sharp angles accrue in the speculative corner of the mind. Through imagination, things are created.

“One knows much more often what one wants than how to attain it.” – Wassily Kandinsky

Observer Independent

Internal simulation
Conscious experience
Magnificent illusion

An important role for art is to help us glimpse aspects of reality usually hidden behind expected mental representations. In this way, it is possible to expand the consciousness structure to encompass more potential experiences.

“Evolution has shaped us with perceptions that allow us to survive. But part of that involves hiding from us the stuff we don’t need to know. And that’s pretty much all of reality, whatever reality might be.” – Donald D. Hoffman