The Beautiful World of Abstractionism

When it comes to art, do you prefer making (and seeing) representational art or non-representational art? Either way, they’re both still art and their aesthetic qualities rely upon the viewer’s appreciation and interpretation. However, we will focus more on abstractionism (or abstract art) in today’s article. Keep on reading if you wanna find out more about the topic!


A colorful abstract painting



We’re sure that everyone is familiar with abstract art. We used to do so much abstract art as kids and now as grown-ups, we tend to have a mindset that this art style is just for kids. Let us prove you wrong in the following paragraphs. They may look “simplistic” because they’re just a bunch of splashed-out colors, distorted lines, and unrecognizable images as if they’re made by a nine-year-old kid, but this style is so much more than that. As simplistic and whimsical as it may seem, it’s quite complicated and intricate because not all abstract art will turn out beautifully.

These days, if you’re an art enthusiast, the love for abstractionism seems to grow rapidly–from preferences to the production of abstract arts, to the growing popularity of abstract artists, as well as the sales or commission that they gain from making such. Now, you’re probably thinking why “art” went from this…


A painting of sistine chapel vatican michelangelo


…to this?

 Photo of an abstract painting on canvas


And that is what we’re going to find out today.


A Brief History of Abstractionism

What does abstract art mean to you? So many questions will arise as we talk about abstract art such as “what is art?” “What are the conventional qualities of an artwork? “Is abstract art considered art?” and “What does it mean to be abstract?” As humans, we’re all curious fellows, so we will find out the answers to these questions by going through the history of abstractionism.

The abstract expressionism movement started at the beginning of the 20th century and was even more popularized after the Second World War. However, abstract art itself goes way back in history. If we dig deeper into history, abstract art can be traced back to during the Tang dynasty in China when a painter named Wang Mo invented the splashed-ink painting style. Fast forward to the 19th century, three art movements came that played a role in the development of abstract art. These are Romanticism, Impressionism, and Expressionism. Later on, Post-Impressionism led to the birth of 20th-century abstractionism. And the rest is history.



A red yellow green abstract painting


Art and its Formal Qualities

Since then, many people have questioned the validity of abstractionism as a real form and expression of art. Traditionally, art is the representation of reality, an expression of our emotions and feelings through visible images and colors. But, what does art mean and what are the formal qualities for something to be considered as “art?” Is there a way to determine the aesthetic qualities of an object?

Well first, let’s define art. Art is pretty subjective. According to the Oxford dictionary, art is “the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as a painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.” There are three aspects in determining the aesthetic value of an object for it to be considered as art: its elements and principles of design which constitute the formal qualities of art.

The elements of art are color, line, shape, space, form, light, texture, and pattern. On the other hand, the principles of design are pattern, balance, emphasis, rhythm, movement, contrast, variety, proportion, and unity. 


A photo of a purple paint


Is Abstractionism really art?

Now that you know about the formal qualities of art, do you think that abstractionism is a valid form of art and expression?

While a lot of people also think that abstractionism is all about nothing, they’re quite wrong. Accordingly, art is about the lines, colors, etc. that make up the image. Abstractionism is the exploration of those by showing some sort of a process outlining how those elements can be used differently.

Understanding abstract art requires creativity and imagination–which are very important qualities in art. In a way, abstract art is much more complicated than traditional and representational arts because unlike those such as portraits and still lifes, its meaning and interpretation are subject to the viewer and the painter. 


A background painting with an acrylic paint


A blue and orange abstract painting


What made Abstract Art so popular in modern times?

Art made a huge transformation if you try to observe the changes starting from the ancient times up to the modern time that we know today. The straightforward explanation about the rising preference and popularity of abstractionism is that it gives the painter freedom to express whatever they want without inhibition. On the other hand, the viewer also has the freedom to assert meaning in the art in a very subjective way.

Making abstract art is never easy. One might say that everyone can make it which is in fact, true. But it takes impeccable skills and technique for your abstract art to be considered artistic by a lot of people– especially those who live by the conventional standards of art. Many things could go wrong when it comes to abstract art– what you pictured in your mind might not turn out the same in the finished artwork, or the colors could go all muddy instead of being a splash full of colors, to name a few.

The Power of Abstractionism

As messy and disorganized as it may seem, abstract art can help you practice and improve your painting skills. Swirling random brushwork, applying color theory to your painting, as well as trying to improvise methods and materials to use in your abstract art could teach you something.


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