I don't know why this should be, but perhaps I'm too much like Leonardo (he said, modestly):
Don’t underestimate this idea of mine, which calls to mind that it would not be too much of an effort to pause sometimes to look into these stains on walls, the ashes from the fire, the clouds, the mud, or other similar places. If these are well contemplated, you will find fantastic inventions that awaken the genius of the painter to new inventions, such as compositions of battles, animals, and men, as well as diverse composition of landscapes, and monstrous things, as devils and the like. ["Treatise on Painting"]
Give me an abstract and I will find something figurative within it. So it is, whenever I start to paint an abstract, I find the figurative elements surging forward. This isn't a great problem really, except that when I'm in a reflective mood and wondering if my work is going the right way, I look around and all I see in galleries is abstract. I recognise this is a kind of tunnel vision produced by a transitory period of low self-esteem, but it does seem at times that all the general public is interested in buying is abstracts.
My friend Mo, in a recent email said:
"... thinking about it, it could all do with what's fashionable at the moment. In all the magazines I've seen recently about interior design and so forth, they've always shown rooms festooned with abstract art - maybe one large piece of work on a wall to make a statement - and you know how everyone follows like sheep - never mind what the quality is like."
The work of hers that has proven most successful in terms of sales has also been "a bit on the abstract side of figurative as well. "
This thought thread was brought on by the comments my post Corner Gallery, Biscuit Factory. Of the pictures that I posted there, the favourite among Commenters seems to be Wooden Sunset, and to my mind, this is the most abstract looking picture in the set (although it's actually a straight representation of the side of a boat).
So what do you think? Is abstraction the most enduring element of Modernism? Are the general public buying more abstracts than figurative and if so, is it all down to what goes with the curtains?
A brief aside, with thanks to Casey Klahn for bringing it to my attention:
I never became an abstract painter because I love to draw, I love to represent. I tried to do abstract paintings, and it always seemed to me that I was throwing out a baby with the bath water. [Wolf Kahn]