Life in the Abstract

There is something about art that allows us to access complex thoughts and feelings otherwise too difficult if faced head-on. In her poem, “Tell All The Truth, But Tell It Slant,” Emily Dickinson reminds us that this is indeed what all great art offers us, from poetry to music to paintings: a means to learn the truth about each other and ourselves in a way that sneaks these discoveries past our psyche’s gate-keeper.

"Transe," Veronique Brosset, France. 2-530 x 397

“Transe,” Veronique Brosset, France. 2-530 x 397

As a audio-visual librarian, I particularly enjoyed connecting my patrons with films that while on the surface suggested simply an entertaining ride, actually delivered life-changing experiences. A young man might come seeking “a good action film” and I would point him in the direction of movies like, “Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story.” in this way, difficult concepts like racism were snaked in and amongst glimpses into ancient Chinese mysticism, the making of a legend, a love-story. As viewers opened to the magic of Lee’s personal story, they allowed entry of universal truths they might not have been receptive to otherwise.

Might abstract art then work in the same way? By experiencing color, light, line and texture via a language that forces us out of the logical, are we better able to access complex emotions and concepts? Feelings and ideas that if presented more directly might be too threatening, too intense?

Agapi Hatzi, Greece

Agapi Hatzi, Greece

At a time in history when experiences are becoming increasingly sped up and truncated, does abstract art give us not only a means to more richly experience pleasure, to luxuriate in visual nuance which cannot be interpreted quickly, but also a language with which to more deeply and fully know ourselves?

Agapi Hatzi, Greece

Agapi Hatzi, Greece

Agapi Hatzi, Greece:

This unconventional and multi-dimensional form expresses me. Allows the possibility through color and liquid for me to escape and explore archetypal and symbolic fields. According to Jung, dreams are a way of communicating and acquainting yourself with the unconscious. My dreams are very vivid; sometimes I remember them very well and I am able to codify them with my own painting on canvas. Being an artist, I believe that it’s difficult to “manage” my thoughts [through conventional means]. Everything on my mind is color and symbolism which find their right place when they are spread on canvas. Despite abstract art being “insufficient,” a structure is required and also knowledge.

"Insolanse," Veronique Brosset, France.1-418 x 530

“Insolanse,” Veronique Brosset, France.1-418 x 530

Veronique Brosset, France:

Painting is my mode of expression. I know of no other. A vital need to transmit and share, to also explore a universe that I know without purpose. I like the challenge painting affords me to question, learn, seek, tame…and finally confront the gaze of others through my painting. And the joy to see the emotion or reaction on the face of someone looking at one of my paintings.

Mathieu Fort, France

Mathieu Fort, France

Mathieu Fort, France:

I find my inspiration in all the elements around me, especially my unconscious that drives me to take my brushes to express deep feelings that I can’t express another way.

Agapi Hatzi, Greece

Agapi Hatzi, Greece

Agapi Hatzi, Greece:

Throughout the day, as I wander the streets or nature, especially in nature where Greek sun is bright and unique, each color for me is significant! I collect all the images and colors to my mind, I analyze them and recreate them. Black and red are both vibrant colors for me. The color that represents both elation and strength for me is red. Many times one meaning is correlated to the another. We can’t have elation without internal strength and from that strength, elation is born.

Agapi Hatzi, Greece

Agapi Hatzi, Greece

Agapi Hatzi, Greece

Agapi Hatzi, Greece

I also love deep blue, the color that represents freedom. The ideal of freedom was born in Greece, that is surrounded by sea!! So as you can understand, a look at the deep blue can only lead you to the road of freedom.

Agapi Hatzi, Greece

Agapi Hatzi, Greece

Agapi Hatzi, Greece

Agapi Hatzi, Greece

Brown for me is a disquieting color; and because the sense of disquiet is like the beginning of the end, by end I mean death, I hardly use this color.

The use of colors depends both on my inspiration and mood; but sometimes just by one color a new idea can be born.

"Violanse," Veronique Brosset, France. 530 x 341

“Violanse,” Veronique Brosset, France. 530 x 341

"Bric," Veronique Brosset 530 x 422

“Br’ic,” Veronique Brosset 530 x 422

Veronique Brosset, France:

My colors that best express my emotions are those that fall short of the magma: black, deep or subtle grey; land burned; bright red; shining yellow. The color that gives me satisfaction and peace is black, which arises from subtlety.

"Capharnaum," Mathieu Fort, France

“Capharnaum,” Mathieu Fort, France

Mathieu Fort:

Color is very important for me and I often use many in my paintings. All are useful and it is their combination that gives interest to a piece. Emotion. The complexity of the unconscious.

Agapi Hatzi, Greece

Agapi Hatzi, Greece

Agapi Hatzi, Greece:

I haven’t always worked in the abstract; it’s only recently that I have preferred this way to express myself, perfect for a mind that never sleeps.

I can accept as an artist that my work will have an impact on the viewers, whether positive or negative, although so far it has all been positive.

Agapi Hatzi

Agapi Hatzi

I can see the surprise in their eyes; they get carried away in front of my paintings because of the tension and size of them. That gives me a lot of pleasure that they can perceive the dimensions of my work. That is the ultimate cause of art. To stand still in front of the object.

"Aberranse," Veronique Brosset, France. 525 x 530

“Aberranse,” Veronique Brosset, France. 525 x 530

Veronique Brosset, France:

Some people may express embarrassment, as if what they see is too violent or too intimate for them. But I have [observed that] when adolescents view my work, they are affected, interested, even if they express few of words, as if to do so was unnecessary.

My inspiration comes mainly from my emotions, my memories and my childhood fears. But I also am fed by what I observe in my environment outside.

When I was a child, I liked to observe nature, those small details, to contemplate the light of the sunsets that transform the colors around us according to the hour of the day, touching the natural materials, animal, plant, stone, wood, iron. I felt extremely aware of this, more than the human environment, which seemed terrifying, complicated and offered little reassurance.

"Resiliance," Mathieu Fort, France.

“Resiliance,” Mathieu Fort, France.

Mathieu Fort:

I find my inspiration in all the elements around me and especially my subconscious which drives me to use my brushes to express feelings I can’t express another way.

"Agonistique," Mathieu Fort

“Agonistique,” Mathieu Fort

I am often surprised by the reaction of the audience because I am a painter of the subconscious. The interpretation is very open.There are as many interpretations as different people on earth. My paintings speak to them personally. At first it was hard to say goodbye to a piece; but I am now very happy each time I sell a painting. I love to discuss with the buyer to understand what motivates him to buy my piece and learn what he sees or feels. Sometimes I do not much appreciate one of my paintings whereas the public may be enthusiastic about it. My audience teaches me a lot about my painting. One of my own favorites is “Design” which I painted in 1999.

"Design," Mathieu Fort, France.

“Design,” Mathieu Fort, France

When I paint I am in a kind of meditative state that allows me to ignore my rational brain in favor of pure emotion. Children are of course very spontaneous, which is perfect for abstract art because there is nothing to understand, just feel. Adults will sometimes try to rationally interpret a work that is not rational.

I create because it is essential to my well-being. I search for the more unconscious emotion, detached from the pollution of current events and fashion. A pure state of my subconscious, merging with the will of creation which is expressed throughout the universe. I paint to achieve peace.

Agapi Hatzi, Greece

Agapi Hatzi, Greece

Agapi Hatzi, Greece:

Since ancient years till today, Greece has been through extremely difficult periods. During the Classical Years, the greatest values were born in Greece and were spread throughout humanity, ideas that remain unsurpassed even today in the world of philosophy, literature and the arts. [But unfortunately, the] conditions today are very difficult, unemployment remains at high levels and now after a financial prosperity of many years, people are having deal with a very hard reality. Suicides are a daily phenomenon. Of course this situation is a global matter. Many countries’ prosperity is fictional and therefore fragile. So someone reasonably wonders if there is a room for art in this sad situation. I am going to answer that today, art’s presence is more essential than ever; we need to be transferred to a world of ideas and values, and art is the vehicle.

Painting for me is like a treatment for my soul.

"Avanse," Veronique Brosset. 273 x 530

“Avanse,” Veronique Brosset. 273 x 530

Veronique Brosset, France:

Freedom of expression above all, is so important, [offering] a portrait of a society at each given time. Art is both reflection, testimony, and a spectrum of the future. Art also has the great virtue of welding individuals together. To quote André Malraux:

“Art, it is the shortest way from human to human.”

And yet, painting also gives me a bienfaisant feeling of isolation. A time space which stops. I feel anxiety at the start of work, and then a strong sensual desire to work the painting, see colors mix, to face, building slowly or violently, my thoughts. My mind tends to, escape, and then it calms. When the painting is complete, there is a feeling that what needed to be said has been said, and that the rest of the speech will be for another canvas.

"Allianse," Veronique Brosset 1-528 x 530

“Allianse,” Veronique Brosset 1-528 x 530

Further notes:

Veronique Brosset paints with energy verging on anger. The unpredictable application of acrylic surprisingly does not compromise the overall aesthetic containment. This is her genius,” writes English poet and artist, Christopher Barnes.

To view more of Brosset’s artistry, visit her website:

“Mathieu Fort’s use of colour and form revitalizes old Modernism. The special perspective gives the illusion of three dimensions. Repetition of shapes draws attention to their difference not their similarity. Engaging work that one can lose oneself in and returning to them again and again really pays off.”

Find more about Fort and his work at:

“Agapi Hatzi’s paintings are organic. Passion and form make her work sometimes dark, sometimes uplifting. The excitement is akin to wonder at nature. But these moodscapes have an edginess that is always unpredictable, heady and dynamic. The sense of movement gives them heightened ethereal tension.”

Agapi’s paintings can be enjoyed at:

Guest reviewer, Christopher Barnes, won a Northern Arts writers award in 1998. His collection of poems LOVEBITES is published by Chanticleer. Barnes has also enjoyed a solo art/poetry exhibition at The People’s Theatre, Newcastle.

Agapi Hatzi

Agapi Hatzi


21 comments on “Life in the Abstract

  1. Dear Deanna, after perusing this issue I was moved to open my copy of Kandinsky’s
    “Concerning the Spiritual in Art”:

    “Color directly influences the soul. Color is the keyboard, the eyes are the hammers, the soul is the piano with many strings. The artist is the hand that plays, touching one key or another purposively, to cause vibrations in the soul.”

    “Of all the arts, abstract painting is the most difficult. It demands that you know how to draw well, that you have a heightened sensitivity for composition and for colors, and that you be a true poet. This last is essential.”

    “The true work of art is born from the ‘artist’: a mysterious, enigmatic, and mystical creation. It detaches itself from him, it acquires an autonomous life, becomes a personality, an independent subject, animated with a spiritual breath, the living subject of a real existence of being.”

    I don’t agree with everything Kandinsky says, but, as he writes in his forward:

    “The thoughts I develop here are the results of observations and emotional experiences that have accumulated gradually over the course of the last five or six years. I had intended to write a bigger book on the subject, which would have necessitated many experiments in the realm of the emotions. Occupied by other, equally important tasks, I was obliged for the moment to abandon my original plan. Perhaps I shall never accomplish it. Someone else will do it better and more exhaustively, for this matter is one of urgency. I am therefore compelled to remain within the bounds of a simple schema, and to content myself with pointing to the greater problem. I shall consider myself fortunate if this pointer is not lost in the void.”

  2. Abstract art is the intelligent person’s art.
    The art viewer can only appreciate such a work if he willing to participate, engage.
    Failure to commit and allowing his own intuition to take over will only result in ambiguity.
    Abstract art even when completed is a creative collaboration between artist and viewer.
    The artist created his own private symbolism and meaning; it is now up to the viewer to individually do the same.
    The title of the work is actually a prompt and not a clue how to access the meaning of the work.
    The only way to leave an abstract exhibition satisfied is if you allowed your mind to play in the dimensions of the artist’s output..
    Well done! Impressive work and lovely aesthetic sensibilities from our featured artists!

  3. Je vois et sens dans votre travail, une histoire qui s’adapte á chacun d’eux, indépendement des aures… Mais l’ensemble me transmet un très grand besoin de communication, mais, ne trouvant pas les mots nécessaires pour illustrer vos sensations, sentiments, philosofie,etc… vous inventez une langue très personnelle, dont les ” accents” changent á chaque oeuvre. C’est attirant, intrigant, provocant, comme le puzzle compliqué du subconscient d’une artiste vraie et confuse en ce qui concerne les éléments externes….

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