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Introduction to... Abstract Art

21 Mar 2021 12:21 PM | Lesley Samms (Administrator)


Abstract is an art style and an art movement that people often have an interesting relationship with. In a thesaurus, it might say ‘conceptual, intangible or theoretical’.


To ‘abstract’ means to separate something from another, and when applied to artwork, often means the work is schematised or simplified. This can make an object or subject beyond recognition.

Abstract works range from gestural paintings, which have no real or obvious inspiration in their final produce, to the use of geometric shapes as seen in the above image. This is often called ‘pure’ abstraction, but can be called ‘concrete’ or ‘non-objective’ art. Since the 1900s, the movement has formed a central space in Modern Art as a whole.


Kandinsky is often thought of as the pioneer for Abstract art in Europe. His watercolour works may be an obvious example. His work has no formal composition, made up of shape and colours that are free from usual subjects.

However, another artist whose work is recently gaining more recognition and traction is the artist Hilma af Klint. She was a Swedish painter who created abstracted works four years before Kandinsky’s works.


Someone you may not relate to the abstract movement is J.M.W. Turner, though many would regard his later landscapes as abstract (image above). This demonstrates the breadth and reach of abstraction in art.

Abstract artworks often incorporate a great understanding and exploration of colour. Artists such as Kupka, Delaunay and Kandinsky use colour to evoke emotions, communicating ideas to the viewers. For example, Kasimir Malevitch’s ‘Carre noir sur fond blanc’.

As well as colour, it is often rich with incredible movement, demonstrating emotions.

Significant Abstract Artists Include:
Jackson Pollock
Hilma af Klint
Joan Miro
Piet Mondrian
Mark Rothko
Morris Louis
Sonia Delaunay
Wassily Kandinsky

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