When Ellsworth Kelly died in late December, I remember reading responses to tweets announcing his death. Sadly, the trolls were out in full force. They ripped into the late Mr. Kelly—and modern art. But that sort of vitriol usually indicates a lack of understanding.
The reason Mr. Kelly's work (and that of many other modern artists) captivates me is this: it forces me to notice the beauty of what I might normally take for granted. It asks me to slow down and take a mindful approach to what I see. To gaze rather than glance.
In doing so, I often marvel at the perfection of simplicity and the fact that we live in the sort of world where there are more colors than we can count. Doesn't each one deserve to be enshrined on a single canvas?
To me, there's something joyous and creative about asking yourself what a simple abstract composition makes me remember and feel. Looking at Damien Hirst's polka dots, I can instantly recall the unique beauty and pleasure of opening a 64-crayon box of Crayolas for the very first time. (Thank you, Mr. Hirst!) I certainly appreciate the technical skill of artists who replicate real-life scenes, objects or people, but I find it's more difficult to engage my imagination when everything is more spelled out for the viewer.
The work of abstract artists actually requires skillful technique, too, which many of us forget or never realized in the first place. That's why I love the video below. If I haven't given you pause to consider modern art in a different way, this might do the trick.
Opinions shared here are my own. They should not be seen as a representation of my employer's views.