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Abstract Painting

Posted by rafael on March 16, 2012 in Culture

Art in general, and particularly painting, has been linked to human beings almost since the beginning of civilization. Painting, as well as all other forms of artistic expression, has not stopped evolving since its first manifestations in prehistoric caves. Nevertheless, while before 20th century painting trends were mostly linked to what is known as figurative painting, that is, paintings intending to represent recognizable images, in the early 20th century new art movements (know as avant-garde) arose and proposed new ways of understanding art. Avant-garde movements, including Futurism, Dadaism and Surrealism impregnated painting with a new spirit: abstraction.

Abstract Painting

The term abstract is generally used by artists in order to define a work focused on such elements as color, proportion, forms, structure, etc., instead of representing specific beings or things. Since this perspective, an abstract manifestation of art accentuates formal, structural, and chromatic aspects, while does not imitate material reality. Therefore, abstract painting is the pictorial branch of abstract art. Phylosophy behind abstract painting is linked to generation of feelings from shapes, colors, structures or proportions, and not by imitating the real world.

Abstract painters are not interested in existing objects or figures, for them what really matters are shapes, colors and ideas. This implies leaving material reality aside, while capturing some specific ideas on a canvas and representing it by using colors and shapes.  This way, abstract painters try to communicate what they think or feel through not obvious works and without representing conventional images. As several specialized sources explain, this can be considered as a search for feelings and emotions outside material reality, that is, an expression of freedom.

Considering all above exposed elements it is easy to understand why abstract painting has been involved into a controversy for many years. As any form of artistic expression it has detractors and defenders. There are important sectors, including art critics, specialists and even art neophytes, stating abstract painting does not make any sense. Moreover, they consider figurative painting is a higher form of art when compared to abstract. At the same time, there are also significant sectors defending abstract painting as a free form of beauty’s communication and expression. Anyway, only people can really judge abstract painting if they get excited or feel something when admiring an abstract work.

Abstract painting has different trends, including Figurative, Geometric and Expressive, among others. While Geometric abstract painting is based on planned rational criteria departing from neutral elements, Expressive abstract painting lacks structure and exhibits a unsystemathic composition based on improvisation, and Figurative abstract painting tries to represent a changing reality in a medium that is static and unchanging.

Famous Abstract Ppainters

The first abstract paintings emerged in the early 20th century, thanks to such well known artists as Wassily Kandinsky and Umberto Boccioni. Kandinsky (1866 – 1944), a Russian painter, can be considered as a key personality to the emergence and development of abstract painting. He was one of the first artists broking with figurative painting, until that being the principal protagonist in Art History.

Kandisky was not only an artist, but a teacher and art theoretician as well. He is considered as one of the most influential personalities in the development of painting throughout 20th century. Furthermore, he is pointed as the beginner of Abstract Expressionism, considering it was Kandisky who started, outlined and developed abstract painting. Kandisky’s works also influenced rising of other form of artistic expressions like Constructivism. Among Kandisky’s works there are some deserving being highlighted, such as “Circles in a circle”, “Empor (In Alto)”, “Painting with white border”, “Krass und Mild” or “Sketch for Deluxe II”.

In turn, Umberto Boccioni (1882 – 19196), was an Italian painter and sculptor. Boccioni was not only a key figure of the Italian Futurist movement, but also one of its most recognized and prominent theorists. Influenced by such great Italian masters as Giacomo Balla, Luigi Russolo, Carlo Carrà and Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, as well as the expressionism of the German painter Edvarg Munch, Boccioni’s work was carried out through two key concepts: simultaneity and dynamism. Among his most important works are “The city rises” and “The street enters the house”, both of them, although formally different, referring to the same issue, a city which symbolizing speed, movement and modernity.

Likewise, it is also important not to forget about other famous abstract painters as Norton Barnhill, Erik Ortvad, Joan Miró, Piet Mondrian, Paul Klee, Sam Francis, Jean-Michel Atlan, Fred Friedrich or Roy Lichtenstein.

After 2nd World War, the artistic avant-garde movement moved from Europe to the United States of America, representing the hegemony of this country at that particular moment of history. Therefore, several important artists as Arshile Gorky or Johann Hans Hofmann, moved to USA after war, and together with American painters like and Mark Tobey, become pioneers of Abstract Expressionism in US.

Avant-garde ideas became increasingly stronger in US, mainly linked to artists’ subjective and freedom expression, as well as their dreams’ self-realization. American artists also showed a great interest in other artistic elements, such as painting signs and gestures and oriental calligraphy. It was a subjective painting, based on accidental and random exploration with no academic limitations.

Arguably, it is possible to say abstract painting is a little understood style with numerous enemies. Nonetheless, judging this kind of painting implies going beyond the controversies that always arise about abstract art. It presupposes going further existing disagreements between its faithful and unconditional admirers on one side and its staunch detractors on the other. Judging abstract painting should accept, on first place that neither all abstract nor figurative painting is good.

The important issue here is if painters’ works were born from an inner need of expressing what they have known along their lives, studies, travels, meetings and inspiration. You may not like abstract painting, but knowing these painters, their ideas and characters, may influence us to start looking to this art with different eyes, emotions and sensitivity.

If you need more information on abstract painting, check the links below:

Abstract painting is an abstract in art. It is compared with music which doesn’t have any physical meaning by itself. It is the most difficult of all paintings. It is something entirely different from the reality. It is an attempt to give illusion on reality. It is a visual language which uses colors and lines to create an independent image.Abstract painting was developed by three art movements namely Romanticism, Impressionism and expressionism in 19th century. This painting was believed to be in its real shape in 20th century. It is different from other types of painting as it is deviated either partially or fully from the reality. A single white dot kept on a black box is said to be one of this variety.Abstract painting is an art of depicting objects in a non representational way. Some paintings seem to take some geometrical form and few others are fluid in nature.

Abstract Painting

Abstract Painting

People believe that doing this type of painting needs no skill or talent which is an abstract thought. The reality is the artist struggles hard to give an abstract art. The art should not have anything recognizable to common man, but for the theme to be explained by colors and forms.As we live in the world of lines and symbols, whatever we draw will have similarity to real time object. But that should not be felt while seeing an abstract art which is a challenge to the artist. The famous artist Picasso says there is nothing abstract in the beginning, but when the traces of the reality are removed it becomes abstract. For those who want to have a beginning in abstract art is to have a real figure in hand. This figure can now be converted to an abstract design just by removing few lines and curves in the original drawing.

1 Comment

  1. joanne`
    Posted 2013/02/12 at 7:02 PM

    Help help help! Who is the artist for the painting you have labelled abstract-painting-14? I cant find the artists name anywhere!!

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