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Abstract Art 101

I’m pretty sure all of us have had an experience where we scrutinized a piece of art, with several questions coming to mind – what am I looking at? Then spending the next 10 minutes trying to figure out some cognitive shape, story or visual representation of SOMETHING. The thing is, you can stare at a piece of art for however long you want – sometimes abstract remains exactly that – abstract.

Let’s kick the blog off by asking the most important questions – What is abstract art?

Abstract art is art that does not attempt to represent an accurate depiction of a visual reality but instead use shapes, colours, forms and gestural marks to achieve its effect

Abstract art is an artistic approach that has influenced many movements throughout history, gaining popularity over time as it formed an important part of contemporary and modern art. It can be defined as anything ranging from painting, sculptures, design, photography to anything that does not accurately or objectively represent a clear visual reality.

The quote by Arshile Gorky states – “Abstraction allows man to see with his mind what he cannot see physically with his eyes… Abstract art enables the artist to perceive beyond the tangible, to extract the infinite out of the finite. It is the emancipation of the mind. It is an exploration into unknown areas.”

It is vital to understand that there is no right and no wrong depiction of abstract art. It is open to any form of interpretation, requiring the viewer to have an open mind. Abstract art grants viewers the freedom to run wild with their imagination, giving them the opportunity to look beyond what is usually easily recognizable and thus come up with their own story and interpretation. The purpose of this particular art method is to grab attention, encourage imagination, providing viewers with an emotional experience (depending on their state of mind and mood).

Understanding abstract art and how to view different styles of art does not come naturally to everyone. A lot of people are taken by surprise by the supposed simplicity of some abstract artworks, scoffing at the idea instead of being open to interpretation and creative discovery. Abstract art is not about showcasing excellent drawing/painting skills, however, it is about freely expressing creativity and creating a visual experience that is free of any form of restraints.

Don’t read too much into the title or spend hours trying to frustratingly depict a solid meaning behind an abstract work of art – it is simply not the nature of abstract art. We suggest letting go of all ideas or preconceptions and opening yourself up to the emotions the artist tried to portray. Art can be beautiful and visually appealing without having to make sense or depict a clear picture.

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