by Alina Livneva10 October '18
Abstract Art Definition and Types of Abstract Art
How do we define abstract art
How do we define abstraction?
A trend in painting and sculpture in the twentieth century. Abstraction breaks away from the traditional representation of physical objects. It explores the relationships of forms and colors.
Abstract art definition
Abstraction is a departure from reality which releases the creative energy of people and provides them with the freedom to explore their minds and emotions in a way which was impossible in traditional styles of art. The abstract is an expression connecting the feelings and vibes than the usual perception of realism. We may define the abstract as a non-figurative art; it is not either objective or representational.
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Abstract art history
Abstraction emerged at the turn of the 20th century and focuses on exploring color and form. Unlike other styles, abstraction does not portray objects as they appear in real life. Before the emergence of this style, artists focused on illustrating human civilization and the world of nature. Abstract artworks experiment with the use of texture, tone, and light perception. Through abstract works, artists express their feelings rather than certain objects or scenes. Early abstraction was represented by movements such as:
Abstract art movement
Cubism - Dadaism - Surrealism - Fauvism
Before World War I, artists in Europe started creating fundamentally abstract artworks where no recognizable objects were portrayed. However, these initiatives were not supported by the majority of even progressive artists. During War, two new influential schools emerged in Europe which further promoted the development of abstraction. These schools were Dada (in Zurich) and De Stijl (in the Netherlands). In the 1950s, development of abstraction was fueled by the works of the powerful movement - Abstract Expressionism, which appeared in the United States and soon spread around the world. Other popular forms included:
Suprematism - Neo-Plasticism - Art Informel - De Stijl
It is important to note that the roots of abstraction can be found in Post-Impressionism, which appeared in France before the turn of the 20th century. Early forms of abstract artworks included illustrations of people with the use of angles and planes. One of the bright examples of such techniques is pointillism, where artists used points to illustrate different places and people.
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The nature of abstraction
There is no consensus about the definition and abstraction nature. Nevertheless, this is a legitimate style of art. In fact, abstract artworks can mean many different things for a person, thus, giving him or her a lot of freedom and room for creativity. Art abstract allows people to explore things that they see in their mind rather than with their eyes. There is a distinction between creating artworks from forms that are not drawn from the visible world and abstracting from appearances.
Types of abstract art
There are many ways to classify abstract art. One of the approaches divides types of abstract art into the following groups:
- Curvilinear abstract art -
Curvilinear abstract art has its roots in Celtic art. This style involves the use of interlace patterns, knots (8 basic types), and spirals (such as triskelion). The curvilinear style is characterized by smooth flowing curved lines which are used to form abstract patterns like swirls, circles, and spirals. Sometimes these curving lines are used to represent human facial features as well. In this form of abstract art, you will not find any right angles or straight lines.
- Color abstract art -
Color abstraction is characterized by the use of color to make the objects appear as detached from reality. The color-related or light-related abstract art can be observed in the works of Oscar Claude Monet and Joseph Mallord William Turner. This type of abstract art is characterized by a swirl of pigment in every painting which eventually makes the pigment indistinguishable.
- Abstract geometric art -
Abstract geometric art appeared in 1908 and was represented by such movements as Cubism. As its name suggests, geometric abstraction is a form of abstract art which uses geometric forms and shapes like squares, triangles, rectangles, and circles. As art styles became more and more boundless in the 20th century, geometric abstraction gradually gained in popularity. Unlike art from the Renaissance period which was underpinned by the logic of perspective in an attempt to make objects as real and lifelike as possible, geometric abstraction is quite the opposite because of its two-dimensional approach. Moreover, this art form strays far from representing real-life objects. Theo van Doesburg, Pablo Picasso, Piet Mondrian.
- Abstract Expressionism -
Abstract Expressionism united the painters who filled their canvases with fields of color and abstract forms, but also those who attacked their canvases with vigorous gestural expressionism. They were committed to art as expressions of the self, born out of profound emotion and universal themes.
- Emotional abstract art -
Abstract art showing emotion employs abstraction to represent nature, unlike geometric art which is completely anti-nature.
- Gestural abstract art -
Gestural abstract art refers to a particular process of making art. In gesture art, the process of creating paintings becomes central because artists of this style often use brushes in unconventional ways and the brushwork is in many cases rapid and loose. Here, the subject of the painting is not important; rather it is the way it gets painted. While most art forms have a premeditated approach to applying paint, gestural abstract art depends on intuition.
- Minimalist abstract art -
Finally, minimalist abstract art is stripped of any external associations and references. As geometric abstraction gained popularity in the 20th century, it slowly paved the way for minimalist abstract art. As its name suggests, minimalist abstract art or minimal art uses geometric shapes, mostly squares and rectangles in an overly simplified manner. Unlike geometric abstraction which is solely based on a two-dimensional approach, minimalist abstract art can also be three-dimensional in nature.
Abstract art popularity
Abstraction has become so popular in our time because it requires artists and viewers to use more of their imagination. When looking at an abstract piece, for example, the human mind starts processing information in a different way than it is when dealing with figurative art. Most abstract artworks leave many details unspecified, thus, prompting the human mind to come up with these details through imagination.