Researching Abstract Art

The Tate describes Abstract art as not attempting to represent an accurate depiction of a visual reality but instead using shapes, colours, forms and gestural marks to achieve its effect.

Abstract art isn’t representational and could be based on a subject or be influenced by anything in the surroundings.

Abstraction is art which use parts of an object or form to inform the artwork, e.g. distorting them and using only sections of them, such as in Georges Braque, ‘Bottle and Fishes,’ circa 1910-2, Oil on canvas, as the shapes of the fish and bottle can still be seen even if they have been mixed up, seeming almost as if they have been cut up and stuck back together.

Bottle and Fishes c.1910-2 by Georges Braque 1882-1963
Bottle and Fishes, c.1910-2, Georges Braque 1882-1963

There are several theories for abstract art – some argue that the main theory is that art should be purely about creating beauty, whilst another states that art should be like music, so the abstract represents the patterns of sounds into patterns, colour, line and form. Another argument, derived from the ancient Greek philosopher Plato, is the idea that the highest form of beauty can be found in geometry and not in the real world, so the extent that it does not represent the material world can be seen to represent the spiritual.

Abstract Painting (726) 1990 by Gerhard Richter born 1932
Gerhard Richter, Abstract Painting (726), 1990

The piece above is more abstract, as you cannot tell what the subject matter is (or even which way up is should go). I really love the texture of this piece and the thick layering of the paint which is blurred together horizontally, broken up vertically by fine lines.

I plan on experimenting myself with abstraction and perhaps eventually making my work abstract. My research on abstraction has given me ideas for how I could break down the main parts of my objects in the jar and piece them together in a less obvious way. I also like the level of realism that can be maintained in paintings even when they are being abstracted, so I may try using more traditional ways of working in my own abstract work so that the subject matter is more obvious.


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