What is abstract art?

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Abstract art is a form of art that started at the beginning of the 20th century. Abstract art is known for the artist being less and less in touch with the reality of nature and painting their artwork from a non-representational or imaginary forms of objects, i.e. abstract. Therefore, Abstract art is also known as “non-objective art”. 


Abstract art can be found in different styles with and without reference to the history of this art movement.

Who came up with abstract art?

One of the early adopters of the abstract art movement is Wassily Kandinsky. The artist switched from stylized painting to non-objective art with geometric shapes. Kandinsky laid the foundations for this new painting movement in 1910. 


Advice: Get started with abstract art with our painting by number motifs, available in several sizes and colors.

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What characterizes abstract art?

Abstract art is more versatile than normal art, offering different shapes and colors. While it used to be the trend to paint landscapes, portraits, animals, or houses, in the world of abstract art there is no limit to the painting possibilities. In this modern art form, artists are concerned with depicting fantasies and imagination on a canvas. 


If there is no direct connection between reality and the artwork, the only option is the artist’s interpretation, this interpretation you can also give yourself. In abstract art paintings, the artist often provides a written legend that informs what he was thinking and feeling during the production. 

Popular motifs in abstract art

Abstract art can be difficult to understand, especially for those used to more representational art styles. Without a clear image or scene to interpret, it can be difficult to know what an abstract artwork is trying to convey. However, one way to approach abstract art is to look at the motifs or recurring themes and elements that appear in many abstract works. By looking for these motifs, you can understand the underlying ideas and concepts that abstract artists explore.


One of the most common motifs in abstract art is color. Many abstract artists use color in bold, expressive ways, creating vibrant and dynamic compositions that capture the viewer’s attention. Color can be used to create contrast, harmony or rhythm, and can be used to convey emotional or symbolic meaning.


Another common motif in abstract art is form. Abstract artists often work with geometric shapes, organic forms or gestures that create a sense of movement or energy in the composition. These shapes can be arranged in different ways to create a sense of balance or tension, and can suggest a wide range of different meanings and associations.


Texture is also an important motif in many abstract artworks. By building up layers of paint or other materials, abstract artists can create surfaces that are rich and complex, inviting the viewer to look more closely and explore the details of the artwork.


Finally, some abstract artists use motifs that are more specific to their own experiences or perspectives. For example, some artists are interested in exploring themes such as nature or the environment, while others focus more on issues such as identity, politics or social justice.

While there are many different motifs in abstract art, it is important to remember that these motifs are not necessarily meant to be interpreted in a specific way. Rather, they are meant to invite the viewer to engage with the artwork on a personal and emotional level, and to draw their own connections and meanings from the composition. By looking for motifs in abstract art, you can begin to understand the unique perspectives and creative visions of the artists who create these works, and gain a deeper appreciation for the power and beauty of this rich and complex art form.


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Popular art movements in abstract art

Abstract art is a diverse field, with many different movements and styles emerging throughout the 20th century and beyond. Each of these movements represents a unique approach to abstraction, with its own techniques, motifs, and philosophies.

One of the earliest movements in abstract art was Cubism, which emerged in the early 20th century. Cubist artists sought to break the traditional perspective and create works that emphasized the flatness of the picture plane. They achieved this by using fragmented forms and multiple points of view, creating complex and difficult-to-interpret compositions.

Another important early movement in abstract art was Futurism, which originated in Italy in the early 20th century. Futurist artists were interested in the concept of movement, and tried to capture the dynamism and energy of modern life in their work. They used bold, angular shapes and strong diagonal lines to create a sense of speed and movement in their compositions.

In the mid-20th century, abstract expressionism emerged as the dominant movement in abstract art. This movement was concentrated in New York City, and was characterised by an emphasis on gesture-making and the physicality of the artistic process. Abstract expressionist artists often used large canvases and worked in a spontaneous, improvisational manner, creating works that were expressive and emotionally charged.

Minimalism was another important movement in abstract art, which emerged in the 1960s. Minimalist artists aimed for simple and reduced-to-essential works, often with geometric shapes and monochrome color palettes. By reducing their compositions to the bare minimum, the artists emphasized the materiality of their artworks and invited viewers to engage with the physical properties of the art object.

In recent years, many other movements and styles of abstract art have emerged, including abstract illusionism, digital abstraction, and process art. Each of these movements represents a unique approach to abstraction and reflects the ongoing evolution and experimentation within abstract art.


Popular Art Techniques in abstract art

Abstract art is a very diverse and experimental art form that has given rise to many techniques and approaches over the years. The following are some of the most popular techniques used by abstract artists today.

  • Pouring paint: In this technique, liquid paint is poured onto a canvas, with the paint flowing and mixing by itself to create unique and unpredictable patterns. This technique is very popular because of its ability to create highly individual and distinctive works of art.
  • Collage: Collage involves creating a composition by cutting and pasting different materials such as paper, fabric or found objects onto a surface. Abstract artists use this technique to create rich textures and surfaces, or to combine disparate elements into new and unexpected relationships.
  • Geometric abstraction: Gesturing is the use of spontaneous, expressive marks, often made with a brush or other tool, to create a sense of movement and energy in the artwork.
  • Making gestures: Gesturing is the use of spontaneous, expressive marks, often made with a brush or other tool, to create a sense of movement and energy in the artwork.
  • Mixed media: Mixed media involves using multiple materials and techniques in one artwork. Abstract artists use this technique to create highly textural and complex works using a wide range of materials, such as paint, collage and found objects.
  • Digital abstraction: Digital abstraction involves the use of digital tools and techniques to create abstract works of art. This approach often uses algorithms and computer programs to generate complex patterns and compositions.
  • Minimalisme: Minimalism involves the use of simple, reduced shapes and color palettes to create highly structured and refined compositions. This approach emphasizes the materiality of the artwork and invites the viewer to engage with the physical properties of the art object.
  • These techniques are just a few examples of the many different approaches and methods abstract artists use to create their works. Whether they use traditional materials or digital tools, these artists continue to push the boundaries of what is possible in abstract art, creating innovative and exciting works that challenge our perception and understanding of the world around us.

Important artists for abstract art

Abstract art has been an important form of artistic expression for over a century, and has produced many influential and important artists throughout its history. The following are some of the most important artists in the field of abstract art.

  • Wassily Kandinsky: Kandinsky is widely regarded as one of the founding fathers of abstract art. His early works were characterised by bold, expressive forms and vibrant colors, and he believed that art should evoke spiritual and emotional responses in the viewer.
  • Kazimir Malevich: Malevich was a Russian artist who pioneered the geometric abstraction movement. His works, such as his famous “Black Square”, sought to create a sense of pure abstraction by reducing shapes and colors to their most basic elements.
  • Piet Mondriaan: Mondrian was a Dutch artist best known for his use of geometric shapes and primary colors. He believed that art should reflect the spiritual and philosophical ideas of his time, and his work tried to create a sense of harmony and balance through the use of simple shapes and colors.
  • Mark Rothko: Rothko was an American artist best known for his large-scale paintings with blocks of color that seem to vibrate and pulsate with energy. His works are often interpreted as expressions of spiritual and emotional states, and he believed that art had the power to transport the viewer to a different world of experience.
  • Jackson Pollock: Pollock was an American artist known for his unique and innovative approach to abstract painting. He developed a technique called “drip painting”, in which paint was dripped and splashed onto the canvas in a spontaneous and gestural way.
  • Agnes Martin: Martin was an American artist best known for her minimalist approach to abstraction. Her works contain grids and lines that create a sense of order and structure, while also inviting the viewer to engage with the subtleties of color and texture.
  • Gerhard Richter: Richter is a German artist who works in a wide range of styles, including abstraction. His abstract works are characterized by their complex surfaces and layering of colors and materials, which create a sense of depth and complexity.

These artists are just a few examples of the many important figures in the history of abstract art. Each of these artists has made significant contributions to the development and evolution of the field, and their works continue to inspire and challenge viewers around the world.

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