What is Abstract Art?

Abstract art is not a new art form, it has been with us for over a hundred years in some shape or form. People that study and enjoy abstract art know they like it but are not quite certain why, this art evades artistic classification and definition and there lies the beauty. One of the interesting aspects of abstract art is its ability to inspire thought, to provoke curiosity and to tantalize the imagination. At its best, it allows the viewer to create their own view of something that is totally unique to themselves.

Is Abstract Art Really Art?

Skeptics of abstract art have continuously posed this question time and again. Is that they cannot rationalize or pigeon-hole the art into a specific category that they either like or dislike. You know you like coffee, but you hate tea, and are comfortable with this decision. But what happens if a drink you are given is similar to coffee and tea but called something completely different? The fact is that it is still a drink! It is a major barrier to many the question if abstract art is a legitimate form of art, perhaps they feel that you have to overcome realism before you can think abstractly.

The Answers

According to the art world, abstract art was recognized as a legitimate form of art almost a century ago.  And if all you were concerned was that if your peers accept this form of art, then ponder no more. Accept that abstract art can mean almost anything that you want, and you will be far more comfortable. Abstract art is not meant to represent anything as a replica or an accurate description, it uses shapes, colours and forms to make a statement.

Definition of Abstract Art

The literal meaning of abstract is to separate something from something else. This in art connotations can refer to objects, landscapes or figures. It can also be used in art that uses gestural marks, which have no source to visual reality. Some artists have defined the form even further into, concrete art or non-objective art, but to the mere lover of art the distinction is too defined, and the art world bands the whole concept into simply abstract art, which of course is loosely called Modern art.

The Classic Abstract Pieces

There have been some classic examples of abstract art over the last hundred years or so and here are one or two of the masterpieces.

  • Red on Maroon – Mark Rothko

A form of abstract expressionism, with large soft areas of colours with no particular object or focus of attention.

  • Yellow Islands – Jackson Pollock

The canvas depicts gestural, improvised drip paintings, achieved by placing the canvas on the floor and pouring paint down on it.

  • Hyena Stomp – Frank Stella

A hard-edged geometric abstraction that reacted to more gestural forms of abstract expressionism using monochromatic colours.

The true pioneers of pure abstract painting were Piet Mondrian and Kazimir Malevich, and these two revolutionaries of the art world were responsible for the abstract movement and influencing many artists. Methodology, style and form have never been the same since and they opened the door for many artists to think out of the box.