Amber Creswell Bell is a well-known curator and writer in the contemporary Australian art world. In her fifth and latest book, readers will be stunned many times over, with the quality of this compilation. This is so much more than a coffee table book: it is beautiful both inside and out and the perfect release to enjoy in a moment of self-care.
As Creswell Bell states, the compelling beauty of abstract art is that there are many movements that can be considered in the same bundle, including expressionism, cubism and neoplasticism. You can investigate Klee and then jump to Pollock, Rothko or Hilma Af Klint, or an absolute icon like Mondrian and his dancers.
You can also listen to jazz and feel the rhythm whilst admiring Rothko and the fabulous block of colour and smudge, with the awe that only seeing a Rothko live can cause.
Abstract art has been misunderstood throughout time; the public might fall under the spell of purely decorative prints you can find at any Ikea store. Essentially abstract art is yet to be fully described or discovered. There really is no actual figure to hang on to, other than that push to the unknown; the need to embrace and look to understand chaos and the thrill it makes one feel. Much like Elliot Routledge’s comparison of abstract art to Bjork’s music, you never stop studying her or her lyrics.
The superb group of Australian abstract artists collated in this collection is simply a sample of the talent we are lucky to have on our shores.
Gregory Hodge, gracing the cover of the book, manages to make the image pop out of the canvas with a combination of representation and gestural imagery, in a manner that will direct you to the movement of waterways, through combining highly saturated pigments with almost transparent gels and glazing. His technique is impeccable.
Other artists showcased by Creswell Bell are Liz Coats, who studies the experimentation of the experience of an environmental condition with imagery that is full of blues and greens, and Emily Besser, with her strokes defined by body movement that describe her surroundings.
The beauty of the abstract is that there is no actual definition; as there is potential abstraction in everything around us. Take Matthew Johnson, working oil on canvas that manages to look like very pixelated photography with a unique and exquisite colour balance exercise. Every work included here is worthy of your time.