Focusing on the abstract

The unique nature of abstract paintings offers viewers the freedom that very few other artwork does.

In the cacophony of colors, lines and shapes, people can see what they want. Everyone might take something slightly different from the piece.

“The use of color, the use of shapes and textures. It’s an opportunity to see things in a totally different way than you’d normally see them,” said Duane King, president of the Southside Art League.

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The Southside Art League will celebrate some of the country’s best artists during its annual National Abstract Art Exhibition. Now in its 13th year, the show is a chance to focus specifically on abstract art, which tends to be underserved in art circles.

While criticisms of “anyone could do that” are often lobbed toward the style, organizers of the show believe that if more people understood it, they’d see the skill that it requires.

“A lot of people have an initial negativity about abstract art. They don’t understand it, so this a great way to do a show that focuses on it,” King said. “It’s an opportunity to give southside artists who don’t have a venue a place to exhibit their work, and to put abstract art up.”

Even under the umbrella of “abstract” art, the pieces in this year’s show employ a variety of approaches to entice the viewer. A gauzy scene of lightly blended color and shading is hung near work where the shapes come together to resemble something closer to street graffiti.

Ethereal, airy approaches offset angular approaches full of sharp lines and jagged corners.

“In my personal opinion, abstract art is a little more interesting than all of your floral paintings or your landscapes. They’re harder to get together as far as composition and color combinations that catch the eye,” said Bob Aichele, an abstract artist and member of the art league. “And they’re harder to do, to get that composition that you like and will get someone to buy it and look at…

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