I have aways been fascinated by abstract art and often wondered whether there is order in what initially appears to be chaos on a canvas. "Abstract art is art that does not attempt to represent an accurate depiction of a visual reality but instead use shapes, colours, forms and gestural marks to achieve its effect", says the Tate glossary. Indeed there is a degree of independence and the artist expresses themselves outside the traditional boundaries.
You sit in front of abstract art and ponder about its meaning. You tilt your head to the side, as if something will reveal itself to you this way. And sometimes, it does.
'A place full of magic' original, oil on canvas 80 x 105, Jessica Zoob
In a way, it is great that no two people see the same thing in an abstract painting. And when a particular artwork has a title, it is almost fun trying to identify elements from the title in the picture. For me, abstract is a great form of art that is driven by shape and colour that can be used in all types of interiors, be they modern or traditional, and whatever their function.
So here's how I would decorate certain rooms in an imaginary home, taking inspiration from the work of British contemporary painter Jessica Zoob.
ABSTRACT IN THE BEDROOM
There is a serious turnaround in how people treat their bedrooms lately. Gone are the days where we were just passing through, as if in transit. Bedrooms are becoming sanctuaries, places where our souls, if I you want, heal. This is where you retreat to gather your thoughts, or when you feel upset. This is the room that makes you feel relaxed as well as secure.
Above, 'Sunshine and Shadows', an original work by Jessica Zoob
So why not inject some of your personality into your room through a beautiful piece of art? This can be on the space over your bed or an opposite wall (so you can admire the artwork while reading a book for example).
If your room is designed around a soft/neutral colour palette, place a medium sized canvas over the headboard or a pair of small prints that can sit over the bedside lamps (although, don't hang them completely in a straight line - be a little adventurous!).
The work below is called 'A big smile' and is available in various sizes either as limited edition Watercolour Paper 300 gsm, Giclee print on canvas or Diasec. It is part of Jessica Zoob's Joy Summer collection. See how a large canvas can be used for impact where the furniture is low/minimal.
You can also use your artwork to define a colour palette in the bedroom; or if you already have strong pieces of furniture or a theme (e.g. black and white), choose your art to complement what is already available.
Above and below: 'Precious Flowers' by Jessica Zoob
Is art (even abstract) affordable? Well, I know a few people who can claim to be able to make their own pieces of abstract art with a brush here and there, but like everything else, if you know you made it yourself you might not appreciate it as much (unless you are a professional painter!).
But back to affordability: if you cannot buy an original piece, why not invest in a limited edition print? They, too, have an investment value (if you see it this way) but make sure you buy direct from the artist or from a gallery they collaborate with.
If you are buying from a private seller, ask for provenance - all accompanying paperwork that proves that the original/print is not an unauthorised copy.
If you have just moved into your new home and don't really have a theme that you need to follow, buy the art that 'speaks' to you the most and then accessorise your room based on it. In the above photo ('Dancing with Blue', Jessica Zoob), the beautiful abstract painting, is framed between two side lamps with similar colours. That's a great solution for those who love colour but don't like bold painted walls!
ABSTRACT IN THE LIVING ROOM
I personally find abstract art very relaxing, especially when the colours used are not very intense. As such, I would not hesitate to include a medium sized canvas in my hallway.
To make a scheme really consistent and emphasise your artwork, you can frame it in a colour that matches other pieces in your room. The bookcases in the alcoves below lend their intensity on the dark stained frame of this beautiful work ('Spirit of Trees' by Jessica Zoob).
Sometimes, when you already have a well balanced decor, abstract art can only complement it, without screaming for attention.
'Cassius' coffee table, marble & matt black, £379, all Swoon Editions
Above: 'Irresistible 1', part of a triptych;
Below: 'Deep Blue Magic 2', both Jessica Zoob
Above: 'Irresistible 2';
Below: 'Pure Pleasure 1' original work; both Jessica Zoob
About Jessica Zoob
Jessica Zoob trained at Central School of Art and Nottingham University, during which time she travelled extensively, spending time on research in China and exploring other parts of Indonesia.
For seven years, she worked as a theatre designer at countless venues including the Bristol Old Vic, the Royal National Theatre and Greenwich Theatre.
Since 2000, Jessica has worked exclusively as a British contemporary artist from her Lewes home and studio. She exhibits regularly in and around London and has works in private collections worldwide.