It’s not always easy to decipher abstract art. The various shapes, colors, textures and designs can be, at times, ambiguous, causing viewers to furrow their brows as they work to understand the story or symbolism the artist is attempting to convey.

While some artists may become frustrated at the thought of people puzzling over their work, West Tisbury artist Rob Hauck welcomes this thought process, likening viewers’ unique reactions and perceptions of his art as an exploratory journey.

Such is the expedition viewers are likely to embark on when considering Mr. Hauck’s latest collection entitled New Paintings. The series, which will be showcased at the A Gallery in Oak Bluffs from July 16 to July 26, features minimalistic, abstract pieces done in a muted color palate. There will be a reception on Saturday, July 16, from 5 to 7 p.m.

“A lot of these paintings are really records of the ambiguity of loss, either physiological loss or physical loss,” Mr. Hauk said. “They’re touching upon unresolved feelings of grief, which is played out in the colors I use and often in the amorphous nature of the shapes.”

What begins as a singular, casual mark on a blank canvas or piece of paper eventually evolves into an elaborate work of art. Mr. Hauck explained that he begins every piece in this same manner, and “sooner or later the painting starts telling you what it needs.” The artist works mainly in the mixed medias of watercolors, acrylic and collage, oftentimes incorporating scratch art for added texture and distinctiveness.

While the subdued color schemes, scratch detailing and assorted brush strokes may symbolize a specific theme or image to Mr. Hauck, he recognizes that audience members will have their own distinct perceptions of his work.

“I’m painting something that’s based upon my experiences, my understanding and my perception,” he said. “But a viewer can look at the same painting, and if they take the time, will come up with their own understanding of what they see. So in fact they are painting another painting.”

Each painting on display will be accompanied by a simple title as opposed to a lengthy description thus leaving most of the investigative work up to each individual viewer. This air of mystery appeals to Mr. Hauck especially as he is concurrently working on a trilogy of mystery novels about art crime.

“I write the same way I paint,” said Mr. Hauck. “I’m a minimalist in my writing by developing subtle clues and asking the viewer to try to piece them together to develop an impression of a plot or character.”

Whether deciphering those clues in his art or writing, Mr. Hauck emphasizes that viewers must let go of that idea that there is a “right and wrong way” to understand abstract art.

“You have to be willing to take the journey,” said Mr. Hauck. “Instead of solely relying on direction, just take the time to look.”

The A Gallery is located at 8 Uncas avenue, Oak Bluffs. To view more of Mr. Hauck’s work visit