Canvas is ever-challenging, a blank space to fill with one’s artistic vision. The abstract artist may be formally trained, he may have tackled the challenge of self-training, or he may be someplace in between, but he approaches the canvas the same way each time: What can I do with the question, “What is abstract art on canvas”? Can I make a worthwhile piece to show and then sell, to display, or give to a friend? The size of the canvas has a great deal to do with the impact of the piece and of course, its final destination, whether to grace a great room in someone’s home or a small hallway leading off to the refuge of the bedroom. Canvas forgives an artist’s insecurity of purpose and offers itself anew each time.
What is abstract art on canvas, you ask? First of all, abstract art uses form and color in a more highly subjective manner than the old-school traditional representational art and so you may find that abstract art reaches your mind on a subtler level than seeing a formal landscape, for instance. Your senses will be engaged, your mind, to a certain degree at the original viewing, disengaged, as you perceive the emotional impact of the shapes and colors that are taken from nature, but not part of it. The outline of a lily may be a simple isosceles triangle, or a series of triangles if the leaves also are shown, and you will read the title of the piece and see the symbolism inherent in the art without needing to see stamens and pistils and delicate traceries of the veins in leaves. It will simply say, “Lily,” to you.
There is a range in abstract art and the lily may be abstract on the canvas and its background not, or the person bending over to enjoy the lily’s fragrance may be slightly surreal in the artist’s focus on the person’s nose, for example. The artistic vision emphasizes, de-emphasizes, enlarges and shrinks each element in the painting and we appreciate this as we step back from the painting to observe the whole placement, the wall forming a negative space and the incoming light from a transom giving the whole area the look of a formal gallery. Abstract art is perhaps the least formal of the art genres and the ways to display it are many, but the traditional notion of hanging a canvas on a vertical plane remains the same. It is only the small details of lighting and placement that make each painting unique.
Should you frame the canvas? There are many answers to this question. Many think that the general informal mood of abstract art should preclude framing and the piece should simply stand out as an extrusion of the wall behind it, a sort of shadow box effect. You be the judge, because it is your home or office, after all. You certainly want to protect your artwork, and a glazed frame will accomplish that admirably. Whatever you decide, the art is yours to enjoy and display, brag about, and quietly contemplate. Or shout about, if it is a particularly lively piece!