How To Understand Abstract Art | Abstract Meaning in Art and How To Recognize It


With the advent of photography, artists stopped drawing objects in detail on canvases. The next stage was the rejection of the subject form and the emergence of abstractionism and abstract feel. At first glance, the artists’ works resemble children’s drawings. But upon closer examination, it is possible to see the orderliness of all elements of the composition, the use of complex image techniques.

abstract art meaning

Abstract Art Meaning

Abstract art is an art movement that rejects the realistic depiction of objects and phenomena. His followers experiment with shape, color, planes, and lines. The main goal of abstract artists is to evoke emotions with their creations.

Abstract Art Interpretation

At first, their paintings seem to resemble children’s drawings. But upon closer examination, the viewer realizes that all the spots, lines represent a single composition. Abstract art is also called non-figurative or pointless.

Abstract Art Explained

The artists did not set themselves the task of conveying an accurate depiction of objects. Their main idea is the search and transmission of the harmony of the surrounding world. Abstractionists believed that nature is perfect and any copying of it is meaningless. Among the works of followers of this trend, the portrait is almost never found.

Abstract meaning in art: abstract painting is considered one of the most natural forms of visual self-expression, as it allows the artist to freely reveal his personal vision of the world and unnecessarily enclose it in the forms of objective reality.

How To Explain Abstract Art: Abstraction Features

  • refusal to accurately depict objects and phenomena;
  • free associations without a specific semantic load;
  • creation of rhythmic, color, and plastic compositions.

Abstract art has many similarities with other styles of painting. But there are features that distinguish it from other areas. What distinguishes him from classicism, romanticism and realism is his rejection of the usual images of reality. From cubism – an alternation of clear and smooth lines.

How To Interpret Abstract Art: Types of Abstraction

The following areas are distinguished:

  • geometric abstraction based on clear shapes. Malevich adhered to it;
  • lyrical, consisting of smooth lines. The brightest representative of this trend is Kandinsky;
  • color – masters actively work with shades, combining them with each other. With their help, they manage to convey emotions;
  • minimalistic – there are no references to familiar objects on the canvas. Artists concisely use colors and shapes.

Often, masters in different periods of their creativity worked in other directions and genres. Artists are constantly looking for new ways to express their emotions on canvas.

How To Understand Abstract Art: Cubism and Abstractionism

abstract art interpretation

These directions are united by the fact that they belong to the avant-garde trends that arose in the XX century. Also, abstractionists could convey emotions through images of geometric shapes. But, unlike Cubism, they did not paint real objects but focused on the emotional component.

Often, abstractionists did not set a specific goal for themselves, so their work is distinguished by the absence of a storyline. Cubists portrayed specific personalities, historical events in their original manner.

Followers of abstractionism believed that painting lacks expression and lightness. Therefore, they experimented with combinations of shapes and shades to evoke certain associations in the viewer.

How To See Abstract Art? You Should Know History

It is believed that William Turner laid the foundation for all avant-garde movements. Looking at some of his work, it can be difficult to determine what is drawn. An example is “Shadow and Darkness: The Evening Before the Flood.” Then there were the Impressionists, Fauves, Cubists. Their experiments with technique and style took painting further from the canons of academicism and realism.

Understanding Abstract Art

abstract art explained

All that is required is an open mind and great imagination. When you look at the painting on the left, what do you see? Swirls of a colorful hurricane, the path of a river flowing through fields of lush psychedelic vegetation, or maybe you see pure cosmic energy vibrating and dangerous? There really is no right or wrong answer to this question. Abstract art is open to interpretation and this is one of its features. An abstract picture does not require an unambiguous understanding – look, an apple is drawn here, so it is! Instead, abstract art requires you to open your mind, turn on your inquiring mind. You must enter the painting and see what is inside. There could be a whole world out there. An abstract painting gives you the freedom to study an artistic creation, and find your own meanings in it, individual for each viewer. This experience of personal experiences enriches a person, reveals to him the unknown sides of the soul.

“I Don’t Understand Abstract Art”

Typically, these people do not realize that the best abstract painters have excellent drawing skills, a honed sense of composition, and a deep understanding of how color functions. In most cases, such an artist could easily paint a rose, “as in a photograph” or a realistic portrait, but they prefer not to. Who needs another photo of a rose?

Instead, they create creations that are less connected to our physical world. Abstract art can be especially difficult to grasp because it doesn’t give easy answers when you look at a painting quickly. Some may think that if “it” doesn’t sound like anything, then it’s complete nonsense. Abstract art may absolutely not contain any recognizable objects, or vice versa – distort, mutilate and turn familiar images inside out. On such a canvas, you may not find a calm and comfortable place for the eye where it is pleasant to stop your gaze. Everything can be very confusing, frightening, even threatening for those who are not used to giving roles to various elements of this crazy dance of colors.

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