Abstract painting is non representational, isn't it? I remember when I first started to make abstract paintings, over 30 years ago that it seemed all about struggling not to represent. It was like the well known exercise where you sit next to someone and attempt not to communicate. Gregory Bateson used it to show that 'you cannot not communicate'. There I was attempting not to represent, and everything I put down seemed to represent something. A vertical was a figure and a horizontal was a landscape and so many things looked like symbols, especially phallic ones. Here is a 'non-representational' figures in a landscape from back then:
Flatness was what I aspired to, before I found out about 'optical space'. But look how difficult it is for the dark grey shape at the bottom left not to take on the appearance of a shadow and for the blue shape not to be in the background nor to be sky or water.
And now, looking back there was autobiographical content that I was unaware of. I had no money, so to get anything on a big scale meant either painting over existing work or sticking smaller stretchers together. Also, each painting (they became monochrome canvases) looked almost the same as the last, in a series, so that what I became interested in then was the subtle differences between virtually identical paintings. And of course this had nothing at all to do with the fact that I am myself an identical twin. All of this was unrepresented, wasn't it?