Below is some of what Rebecca Purdom says about abstraction. It makes the most sense to me about the meaning of abstraction of anything I have ever read. Mostly people want pictures to be recognizable and if you try to explain to them about an arrangement of squares that you find very moving, they giggle. So this pleased me very much.
"We’re so good at judging, it comes so naturally, that it’s easy to see why looking at abstraction, which offers absolutely no clues whatsoever as to what to do next, can be such a challenge. But that challenge is, in fact, abstract paintings greatest gift. The kind of seeing it promotes is something we can all do; we just don’t get the opportunity to do it very often.
I’ll bet that every one of you has had the experience sometime in your life of looking at something so marvelous that, for just an instant, you’d forgotten yourself enough to not act. Fot just that instant you were not in charge; the experience itself somehow was. The pursuit of that kind of experience is what I think turns painters into abstract painters, and the awareness of it turns all of us into better audiences for abstraction in particular and for art in general."
Rebecca Purdum in the newest New England Review:Vol 28, no 4, 2007. p175-6