Reading on abstraction

I am reading this text on Deleuze and abstraction by Brent Adkins as part of trying to understand how different people conceptualize abstraction. This is normally seen in terms of a removal, a paring away, a purification. It is an abstraction from something.

Deleuze has an idiosyncratic view of the abstract, which compared to that of Clement Greenberg or  Peter Wolin   or Hegel.  Whereas Hegel (and people generally) think of the abstract in opposition to the concrete, Deleuze thinks of the abstract in opposition to the discrete. Even though Delewuze  views abstract art as being abstract because it  produces sensations sensation not  representations. Sensations are defined as percepts (new ways of seeing or construing ) and affects (new ways of feeling). 

Affects are associated with intensity (or the tendency towards change) and  not extensivity (or the movement towards stasis). Abstract is one of the ways that Deleuze thinks through intensity. For Deleuze the abstract is true lived experience. Abstract lived experience is linked to the tendency toward change (the concrete) as opposed to the tendency toward stasis (the discrete).

 Deleuze held that the key to change is to challenge the major conception of the canon and its dogmatic image of thought. Artists think in terms of percepts and affects rather than the concepts that philosophers think in. Photographers think in terms of images, line, form and colour to create something new--a becoming: what Nietzsche called the untimely. 

In the art institution the new is structured in terms of  a linear progress as a before and after. The temporal schema is a before abstraction and an after with the before--realism---  seen as  negative and modernist abstraction  seen as a new enlightened era.  However,  it is more accurate to see realism and abstraction as co-existing with different layers of strata  that are full of dramatic breaks, ruptures in these layers; stopping points, rifts, shafts, with their multifarious interactions.  Photography in creating something new can be seen as a bringing together of disparate   elements  or lines that cross cut its history without being confused with it or being stifled by  its conformity. 

quartz, lichen + granite

This abstraction  was a difficult image to make.  I had to wait until the late afternoon  for the light, and he quartz  was tucked behind some  granite rocks on the foreshore just east of Deps Beach and  it was not possible to put my body in the space between the granite and the quartz to obtain a low view:

So I had to lean into the space, try and balance my feet on some sharp edges and hold the Sony NEX-7 camera low. Thankfully the camera has a  fold out back  and so I could focus the image using it. 

Quartz Abstract #2

The abstraction  below was made early one morning whilst I walking amongst the coastal rocks with Kayla.    The bitterly cold winds had dropped, the seas  had become  much calmer, and the broken cloud cover  promised some early morning sunshine. It was a good morning for walking along the coast.  

These moments inbetween the storm conditions of winter allowed Kayla and myself  to  leisurely wander amongst the rocks on an early morning poodlewalk.