How do we relate to abstraction? Is it simply that the dance of color, form and composition hits our visual apparatus and then coalesces somewhere in the brain to stimulate emotional substrates? Does that emotional response depend on our past experiences and our character, or is there a universal reaction to abstraction, as postulated by mid-twentieth century Abstract Expressionists? Is it the same way an arrangement of musical notes in a symphony elicits an emotional response, or a particular scent can provoke a powerful memory? All of these involve sensory input arranged in a precise way to jump start our emotions, to elicit thoughts and feelings that exist in a realm beyond spoken language. And since it’s communicated in a sensory language, it’s difficult to verbally express that surge of emotion, that transcendent spirituality that is captured in an abstract painting or symphony or a particular scent.

Going Up and Down
Val Rossman

But some works of art make it worth trying. Val Rossman’s acrylic on aluminum abstract painting titled Going Up and Down, 22″ x 22″, is filled with intermingling squares and rectangles of brilliant, saturated colors, mostly reds with hints of white, blue, purple and yellow. While some of the squares seem to shout, skip and soar out of the canvas, others recede into the background, creating a layered, textured appearance that seems to allude to the title. And yet it’s also as if we are at the threshold of an intricate, joyful, complex dance. It’s a dance that pulls you in to its thumping center, immersing you in a world of rhythm, joie de vivre, and exuberance. Though abstraction may at times seem elusive, one thing seems certain. Having this painting in your midst will certainly make you want to dust off those dancing shoes and start twirling.

Christina Massey

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