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Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

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Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

OPINION: Talent is displayed in abstract art as much as realistic art

Garima Thapa
“Danseuse Espagnole” is a sculpture located in the Plaza of Heroines, a brick plaza in the heart of campus honoring local influential women. It is located on the west side of the Ablah Library.

Imagine an oil painting of a sunset on a beach, painted with curt precision and elaborate strokes to imitate the real thing. Now, imagine an array of purples and oranges splattered across a canvas. Both paintings fall into the multi-faceted range of art.  

The first painting is a textbook example of realistic-looking art, and the latter is an equally impressive example of abstract art. However, there has been speculation if abstractness can even be qualified as art. To some people, it looks like an assemblage of colors and lines were thrown together, something that could be created by a kindergartener. 

However, there is a deeper presentation here than just a random assortment. Abstract art is in equal caliber of creativity and a use of skill as realistic art. 

“Accord Final” is an outdoor sculpture by Arman. It belongs to the Ulrich Museum of Art and the Wichita State University collection.

It takes a staggering amount of talent to create realistic art. Anything in the real world, like nature and objects, can be captured through paints, chiseled materials or rendered on graphic software with the intent of the artist to display their view of the reality they are focusing on. Art like this can be outside of the box; it flips the concept of art around and blends its statement with the art. For instance, the “Accord Final” is the broken piano doused in bronze that sits behind Duerksen which is supposed to show the beauty of destruction. 

It’s creativity like this which distills the argument that abstract art isn’t a true art form, but just a way for ‘talentless hacks” to make a name for themselves. How can a genius metaphor of a dance between beauty and destruction lie within a broken piano be compared to swirls of colors or oddly-shaped sculptures that don’t resemble any object? The answer is the aesthetic.  

Appreciating aesthetic is what makes something a true art. It is the reason abstract art is a true art form. If you see something and are able to see its beauty despite its disconnect from reality, then it is art. 

Let’s compare video games here. Imagine Arthur Morgan from “Red Dead Redemption 2” riding his spotted stallion along a cliff face with a speckled mountain range in the background. Then, imagine the polychromatic and pixelated world of “Minecraft” around your character’s skin. The graphics of “Red Dead Redemption 2” are a realistic art and the graphics of “Minecraft” are an abstract art. Despite “Minecraft” not even being close to looking realistic, it does offer a unique visual aesthetic that has captured the attention of two generations of gamers. 

Think about paintings with splotches of color on a canvas and sculptures with strange shapes like the “Danseuse Espagnole” in the Plaza of Heroines. These pieces of art may be strange and brow-furrowing, but it’s the way the artist tries to create a stroke here to light up this section of the painting or mold the right leg of the “Danseuse Espagnole” to imply this statue is in a dancing stance. 

It is quite beautiful to see and experience all kinds of art in the world, whether it is realistic, abstract or any other kind. Personally, I try to find art within any art form because I don’t know what aesthetics I will find or how I will feel about them. I can look at paintings like “La Poetesse” or other Ulrich collections, observe their shapes and swirls and ponder on how they make me feel, and when they do, I can see that they are art. 

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About the Contributors
Tyler Guthrie
Tyler Guthrie, Columnist
Tyler Guthrie is a second-year columnist with The Sunflower. He is a creative writing major with a Spanish minor from El Dorado, Kansas. Guthrie uses he/him pronouns.
Garima Thapa
Garima Thapa, Photographer
Garima Thapa is a second-year photographer for The Sunflower.

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