It’s Weird Wednesdays again and I will pick up where I left off last week and we will go down the rabbit hole that is Abstract Art. Oxford definitions define Abstract Art as a work of art that does not represent external reality but achieves its effect from shapes, colours and textures. In other words, it generally does not look like an object or living thing based in reality but is rather the product of an idea. For example you could make a work of art out of colours that you perceive when you listen to music and represent your idea of the sound on canvas. Or you could attempt to represent an emotion or a subject that does not have a concrete reality but that you can describe in words.
Abstract Art has its origins in the 19th century and has since progressed into hundreds of types. It is not to be confused with Surrealism which depicts reality in an unrealistic way. Abstract Art is also an abstraction from reality but is often open to the artist’s or the viewer’s interpretation. Your eyes and mind might try to define what you are looking at as an object or living being, or something else that the artwork reminds you of. Some famous abstract artists from the last 100 years are Wassily Kandinsky, Jackson Pollock and Gerhard Richter. Below is a painting by Abstract Art pioneer Wassily Kandinsky titled Composition VII.
I believe there are no rules in art, but how can you tell good Abstract Art from bad? You might look at a piece of Abstract Art and think “I could do that. A monkey could do that.” But the difference is that you didn’t, and neither did a monkey. Good Abstract Art has meaning behind it, thought and consideration, as well as aesthetics. Because art is subjective, not everyone is going to have the same reaction to a piece. You may hate it while someone else likes it and while another person is indifferent to it. In my own work I am still exploring ideas for Abstract Art although I have done a few pieces in the past. I am including a work below that uses colour, shapes, lines, and composition yet still may not have meaning to the viewer even if the artist had meaningful intentions.
If you are looking to create your own piece of Abstract Art you can try painting an idea that has meaning to you or you can be inspired by the meaning that you experience with your other senses. Listening to music, imagining worlds in fiction, the smell of something you enjoy put into shapes or colour, a representation of colours you see that reminds you of your favourite foods. The ideas are unlimited, and you can find inspiration in people an in other artist’s work. If you would rather just view than create, I will leave you with a piece that inspires me by local artist Alana Forsberg, Instagram @lanerxart titled Earth’s Destruction. Until next time, ciao.