The intention of this unit is to introduce young artists to the idea of abstraction in the history of art, and the possibility of responding to such paintings.
It sets out an approach to the work exploring mark making, colour and language as a stimulus for abstract imagery. Finally, it suggests returning to looking at the work of artists in the context of the children's own painting.
Abstraction provided a paradigm leap for art in the twentieth century. Although a number of artists, notably Paul Cézanne, had begun the process of abstracting from visual reality, it was the Russian painter, Wassily Kandinsky, who is often credited with making the first abstract paintings. The story goes that Kandinsky was dissatisfied with one of his brightly coloured semi-figurative paintings and turned it upside down. The resulting composition of colour, shape and space pleased him. Although it was impossible to 'read' the painting in a literal way it still presented a powerful expressive and aesthetic content. Whether or not the that story is true, abstraction or the rejection of it, became the dominant feature in painting over the past 80 years.