Abstract art is a symbolic game, and it is akin to all human games: you have to get into it, risk and all, and this takes a certain act of faith. But what kind of faith? Not faith in absolutes, not a religious kind of faith. A faith in possibility, a faith not that we will know something finally, but a faith in not knowing, a faith in our ignorance, a faith in our being confounded and dumbfounded, a faith fertile with possible meaning and growth.
From this field of not knowing, from our ignorance, from our dumbfoundedness and disorientation, artists get us into the history of our culture, make our culture go. They produce from the form of things defamiliarized, from our refocus on the things we thought we knew, from the banal, from the points between A and B, from all those momentary interstices where we have no category and no form of understanding. They produce our fresh understanding of the world of culture as separate from nature, as separate from the clock of events in the rest of history: separate by moving faster and stimulating us to change when we least expect it, and slower by linking us to traditions in the past, different from the clocks that tick away in our own lives. - Kirk Varnedoe