The Abstraction


The old man had entered the contest for wood sculpting six months ago. Now, at the deadline, it was finished. As the crowd walked by and viewed his creation, they remarked that he should not have carved a living tree. His vision wouldn’t have worked on a dead one.

As more people viewed it, he wondered if the world had forgotten abstract art. Did everything have to be realism? He got angrier by the minute at their criticisms and tried to explain abstraction.

He got angry and threw his ax in the middle of the tree.

He won the award.


Thanks to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields and Friday Fictioneers!



  1. Meaty take, on realism vs abstraction in art.

    Realism, in the sense that this is a real tree, and thus a living being, which should be left alone, would definitely work against this artist.

    In the common sense, that of portraying objects as they actually appear in the world around us, the carving could be said to be realistic.

    This apparently was not the artist’s intent at all. Im sure he had something much grander or more symbolic in mind.

    But im notsure in what sense he uses the word “abstraction”. He leaves me as confused as the onlookers seem to be, Im afraid.

    Perhaps that is the point, that he is unable to communicate his intent. The character of theartist who speaks better through his artwork than through his words is well-portrayed here.

    As for the final work, hatchet and all, for which he won the prize, this seems to allude to therandom, capricious nature of recognition inart, and is insightful, indeed. 😊


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