What is Abstract Art and why even?

This piece is called 'Nebula' and it's Abstract art. 

But what does that mean exactly???


ab·stract art
1. art that does not attempt to represent external reality, but seeks to achieve its effect using shapes, forms, colors, and textures.  "abstract concepts such as love, beauty or anguish" .

I've been known for my colorful and impressionistic dog portraits. Also I've painted a few whimsical octopus works and even some really cool birds. Yes, I do like to paint animals. Aren't they amazing in all of their splendor and glory?

But what is this business with abstract art? I have been pushing myself right out of my comfort zone here. It isn't as simple as I had once thought.  I truly love a good abstract work, with all of it's push and pull and emotion. And I can get lost in swirls of color or layers of texture. It is not the only art I admire, but certainly does speak to me. But making it is not as easy as it looks. Well, at least making GOOD abstract art.

What is abstract art?

In the article, What Is Abstract Art? And Why Should I Care?  in Artist Magazine, I relate to how they define this style of art: 

Abstraction literally means the distancing of an idea from objective referents. That means, in the visual arts, pulling a depiction away from any literal, representational reference points. You can also call abstract art nonrepresentational art.

The key is non-representational. No specific represented object. So we are talking lines, shapes, textures and patterns even.  It seems most people are either FOR it or AGAINST it, which I think is the case with most styles but it seems to be more extreme in this style. Abstract tends to evoke stronger emotions in people. When people describe a piece they admire, the language used is colorful, imaginative and usually quite visionary. There is definitely a language it speaks to which I can relate.

But then there is that one piece.

You've seen it.

It's basically a block of orange on a white background. Or 5 stripes on a giant canvas and nothing else. I have seen people actually get mad seeing these kinds of pieces.

"You call that ART?!?" Well, yes, I actually do. It makes you feel, it evokes your senses, even if it infuriates you! Art is for the emotional soul, to stir up the feels.  

Do you like abstract art? Do you have a favorite artist in that style?

Here's some work by other abstract artists I like, and what they have to say about this style of creating:

(I love this artist, Blu Smith from Victoria, Canada)

Into The heat by Blu Smith

Blu considers Abstract painting as an exercise to free himself from the technical restraints of realism.  "I look at my paintings not as individual pieces but rather as a living, breathing and constantly evolving body of work. It takes on a life of its own" -Blu Smith


Constellation 1 (acrylic on canvas) by Adria Arch

“I enjoy playing with and rearranging colors, lines and shapes to create images that I want to look at. I want my work to be surprising, playful and provocative. Some of my paintings are doors, others windows. They are all portals. I continue to use these symbols because they are a joyous and mysterious language that is somehow both deeply personal and universal.” —Adria Arch

Mayo Drawing #14 (oil pencil and wax on paper) by Timothy Hawkesworth

“For me ‘abstraction’ is not an art movement, a moment in art history or a style of painting. It is a crucial integral connector to the vitality of painting. What is extraordinary for me is that as I go out past what I know—past where I am controlling what I do—to find coherency and form. Contact with this wordless coherency, the gift of form is a profound homecoming.” —Timothy Hawkesworth


What do you think??