At first glance, you may dismiss abstract art. It may appear as a jumble of colors or shapes, not interesting enough to capture your attention as you waltz by. Is this, then, that the curators were simply bad judges of art or that you did not view the art as it was intended to be seen? The answer is most likely the latter.
Much of abstract painting appreciation comes from following the process and the emotion behind each piece. Abstract art is no new notion in the painting world, as it is a technique and style that has been used by many cultures across the world for centuries.
There are, of course, different degrees to which a work can be abstract. Artists often take liberties with abstract painting. They often change a thing or two about their subject matter, becoming “abstract.”
Further along the spectrum, a work can bear no resemblance to physical objects. It all depends on the artist’s preference. But, it is understandable that an audience would resonate with work they can easily connect with.
The History Of Abstract Painting
Abstraction, as a genre, began in many Asian countries. They would use symbols to depict entities and ideas and simplify material objects in a visual form. It began to grow more in Western popularity in the 19th century as Expressionism and Impressionism came into being. Painters would often paint physical scenes, but the focus was on the emotion and the feeling the color would invoke, rather than a photorealistic outcome.
As this became more commonplace, other artists also began to experiment with delving further into emotion. Post Impressionism came about in the 20th century, invoking whole different styles of art. Some, like Picasso, began to use shapes to create his masterpieces. Others began to even use different materials to provide collage-esque work. As the art world has risen and now was being distributed with books and papers, artists across the world now had access and means to study other painters. This amplified the abstract movement, as artists learned and grew from understanding others’ work and experimenting on their own terms.
With word of mouth widespread on the art front, many movements began to branch out thereafter. Everything from Bauhaus to Modernism was explored, with specific tenants tied to each and every one, each with their own unique styles and flourishes. That being said, each of these branches still had one very important thing in common: the emotional tie within.
Enjoying Abstract Art
When you walk by an abstract painting, you may not initially feel anything. That’s alright! Not every piece speaks to everyone. What I would encourage you to do would be to read the painting description and read up on the artists. Were they struggling with the utter darkness and forlorn gloom of the time period? Were they trying to express insurmountable emotion via blocks of color? Without reading about it, you’ll never know.
Though abstract painting requires a bit more effort to understand, it’s well worth the dive. Whether or not you find the piece technically impressive, there is still something you can learn from every piece of art you encounter. If you learn how to view them through the correct lenses, you’ll be a better man for it.