What is Abstract Art?
You may like abstract art outright, hate it or not understand exactly what it is, but since you’ve started reading this, I can at least assume you’re curious about this perplexing art form that evades definition and artistic classification.
The definition. Abstraction literally means the distancing of an idea from objective referents. That means, in the visual arts, pulling a depiction away from any literal, representational reference points. You can also call abstract art nonrepresentational art.
The first signs. Abstraction can be traced to Impressionism, Post-Impressionism and Cubism. All three helped realize the idea that art could be non-representative.
The movement. Modern abstract art was born early in the 20th century. It was completely radical for its day. Artists began to create simplified objections with little or no reference to the “real” world.
The father. The first artist to create abstract art as we know it will always remain a mystery but Wassily Kandinsky is often credited by historians as he created paintings of floating, norepresentational forms as early as 1912. His work brought abstraction to America during the Armory Show in 1913.
The present. Abstract art now lives in the art world in many forms. It is two- and three-dimensional. It can be vast or small. Abstract art can also be made with many materials and on many surfaces. It can be used in concert with representational art or completely abstract. Artists creating it often focus on other visual qualities like color, form, texture, scale and more in their nonobjective work.
Some artists play and rearrange different shades of colours to express their thoughts, while others use lines and shapes to create images. And that’s called semi-abstract.
Abstract but with some figurative elements. For the most part, the subject of the work is not recognizable, but some representational elements are included. (There appears to be a sliding scale with respect to semi-abstract art.) Works depicting a recognizable but very stylized subject are also considered semi-abstract.
Like abstract, semi-abstract evokes a feeling or a sense of something rather than depicting it. It could be figurative, still life or landscape, though how you interpret the painting may be very different from the artist’s thought. That’s one of the reasons abstract and semi-abstract paintings attract art collectors all over the world.
*All the paintings in this article are available for inquiry in our gallery. Please email us for further information.