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  • Writer's pictureVishakha

Important Characteristics of Abstract Art For Beginners


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One can easily trace back the origins of abstract art to the early 20th century. It was a historic revolution that changed the way we look at modern art. It has freed traditional art from the shackles of representation and other limitations that come along with it. The sole idea of abstractionism is based on the belief that art must not be limited to just real-world objects. As a means to express and involve imagination, it must go beyond what we can see and connect us to what we can feel. 

Famous abstract art Broadway Boogie Woogie

While many of us can identify abstract with its unusual compositions and lack of representation, it is still important to know what actually makes it abstract. To understand the nuances of this school of art, it is first crucial to identify the characteristics of an abstract painting. While we have already discussed the meaning of abstract art and its basics previously, today we will explore the characteristics of abstract in depth. 

No Recognizable Object or Scene in Abstraction

The foremost way to describe modern abstract art is its lack of concrete objects and scenes. These paintings rather rely on colors, shapes, forms, and patterns to express and make the composition. Depending upon the use of these abovementioned elements, an abstract artwork can be further classified as geometric abstraction, linear abstract art, colorful abstract works, etc. Some artists even choose to work with monochromatic, neutral, or primary color themes to create black-and-white art or other similar works. 

Abstract Art is Always Open to Interpretation

A major defining factor of any abstract drawing, painting, or even sculpture is that it is always open to interpretation. These works never have a concrete meaning because they are not dependent on known or familiar objects of the world. Hence, when viewers are exposed to a piece of abstract art, they almost always interpret it in their unique ways. Different colors, shapes, and patterns used in a single composition can awaken a thousand different feelings among the observers. Hence, the paintings are always unique and easily bring a sense of novelty along with them. 

Abstract Art Avoids Imitation

Many abstract artists associated with TERAVARNA have often told us how liberating they find this school of art to be. Aiming to achieve perfect imitation is often something a lot of artists struggle with. Even though they might be amazing artists, not everyone wishes to imitate their inspiration on canvas. This is where abstraction steps in. However, please do not misunderstand it as an excuse to create poor compositions. 

Artists need to understand that even though abstraction doesn’t require imitation of objects, it is still as legitimate as any other art form. It still demands a balance of composition, an understanding of color theory, consistent practice, and knowledge of your art supplies. You cannot just create anything and call it abstract art.

It is an Expressive Form of Art

How do you depict your anger on a piece of canvas? Or maybe your grief or joy or anxiety? What if you do not want to associate your emotions with any forms or figures and want it to be just a pure depiction of your emotions? Traditional art often lacks in this aspect when it comes to expressing emotions or impulsive desires without any dependency on objects or human beings. 

However, a prominent characteristic of abstract art is that it allows you to express emotions. With the use of different colors, shapes, tones, and patterns, you can express a lot without actually creating a figurative composition. As previously mentioned, these elements, if used correctly are intensely expressive and can convey everything and more than figurative art. 

It is a Non-traditional Form of Art

When we say traditional art, we don’t simply just mean figurative art. It is any art form that follows a defined set of rules, is associated with specific cultures or groups, and has been passed down from one generation to another. Abstract art is not only one of those modern arts but also a non-traditional art form that marked a significant evolution and shift in the world of art. 

It showed artists that there could be a way to create art without having to imitate, rely on traditional tools, or limit their feelings to express themselves. It often uses random brushstrokes, dips of paint, spray painting, and uses of objects like metal, sand, etc. which are not used in traditional art. 

Focused on Form and Composition

We have repeatedly been saying that abstract art does not rely on real-world objects or imitation Then what does it actually rely on? An abstract artwork is more about composition and the form of art rather than the subject or object that has been depicted in the art. The form and composition of an abstract artwork will always take precedence when it comes to the hierarchy of importance.

The choice of colors, the balance of composition, the overall form, pattern, and other intricate details are more important in this case. Since its objective is to convey emotions instead of attaining accuracy in depiction, abstract artists are always more focused on the overall mood that their artwork creates. Famous abstract artists like Wassily Kandinsky and several others chose this school of art because it allowed them to connect with spirituality through one universal language of their canvas.

Abstract Art is a True and Expressive Form of Art

While it is surely non-traditional, abstract art is still a genuine school of art. It is focused on attaining freedom in artistic expression and simplicity of the composition by removing all extra elements from the frame. It is often minimalistic but still manages to express a lot through its unconventional representations. It is one of those art forms that aims to connect viewers through their interpretation and emotions rather than through their understanding of this world. 

Many people have often questioned the authenticity of this art style. However, after a century of its origin, these debates have significantly toned down and the current generation has become far more receptive to it than in the past. This is one of those rare art forms that compels the viewer to look within themselves rather than at the outside world to grasp it.


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