The hoi polloi rarely fathom messages conveyed by a piece of abstract art. This is the opinion of many art critics like Deepak Talwar, maintaining that abstract art can raise goose bumps.

Defining Abstract Art

The art sphere is filled with people who call a few dots on a glazed frame as ‘modern abstract art.’ There are pretentious ‘connoisseurs’ who think such pieces have more artistic value than ‘The Weeping Woman’ or ‘The Scream.’ In fact, abstract art is beyond a single line drawn on a blue canvas. The mixture of color, shapes, and concepts should be intelligible and not scarce. Indian handicrafts had boasted abstract art long before Wassily Kandinsky created his first abstract watercolor.

Does Madhubani painting ring a bell?

This artform originated in Bihar 2,500 years ago. The paintings are well-known for their geometric distinctions and depiction of humans, gods, and beasts in disproportionate figures. Madhubani Paintings are the perfect example of abstract art. They are lucid, use a variety of colors and feature the story intended creatively.

It is the same with Warli Paintings, whose roots go back to 10th century AD. Warli Paintings show minimalism; a different degree of minimalism as compared to NasreenMohamedi’s work that was celebrated in the art gallery of Deepak Talwar.

Where Is Abstract Art?

Sadly, abstract art is dying because of the sparse canvases and ultra-capitalistic art brokers who sell them for millions. Street artists who create modern abstract art are leagues away from recognition.

The contemporary art scene is a nexus of cunning art dealers and artists who can market themselves. It is rarely about the skill of the artist and the quality of his/her work. Some have weaponized it for their political agenda. It is not the case that art should not be a means of revolution, but drawing Donald Trump’s portrait with menstrual blood is not something everyone in the art fold agrees with.

Why Unnecessary Labelling and Profiling?

Deepak Talwar, however, disagrees with profiling. “You are quarantining the art if you put that label on it,” he says.

“You are affected by everything that happens in the world, not just what’s immediately around you.” He adds, “I am an Indian at heart, I am an American as well, and a New Yorker as well. I do not have to choose one.”

Deepak Talwar is somewhat right about the labels and criticism. However, where do we draw the line? How do we differentiate between original art and laziness?

Luckily, globalization is conserving traditional Indian abstract art as time-honored styles like WarliPainting, and Madhubani Painting can be seen in European and American households. Modern conceptual work and traditional Indian art can anchor each other if experimented smartly.