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  • Marc Primo Warren


Updated: Mar 12, 2021

This is an article “Making Abstract Art Simple” by Marc Primo Warren

Some of us have been there. We suddenly find ourselves captivated by an abstract masterpiece for minutes, yet can’t seem to decipher the meaning behind it.We might be moved and our thoughts are challenged, but we struggle to grasp the motive behind every stroke and detail. If you are one of those art lovers who seems to have a hard time taking in abstract paintings, you’ve come to the right place.

Let’s first define what abstract art is really all about. It is a work of art that doesn’t attempt accurate depictions of the realities that our human eyes see. Instead, these art forms resort to color, shape, forms and symbols to elicit a more profound effect. And that’s what makes it a bit tricky. Some abstract art is free of interpretation, while others intend to establish a connection through precise subliminal messages with its audience.

Some of the most well-known abstract artists in history include Jackson Pollock, Wassily Kandinsky, Piet Mondrian, and Pablo Picasso who all have challenged the minds and imaginations of their audiences. Picasso, however, belongs to the genre abstraction while the others who are more into pure art. But before you check out each artist’s masterpieces, let’s study a few pointers that will help you understand and appreciate abstract art first.

Most artworks rely on intuition

The term “abstract” comes directly from the artist’s freedom to convey and the audience’s ability to use intuition. A communication is established by deriving imagination that’s beyond the physical and visual to translate intangible messages and emotions into art. Throughout history, abstract art served as a counterpart for the genre of realism and applied surrealism to form equally creative art that’s appreciated by many. In simple terms, understanding abstract art requires an open mind and a big imagination that gives more meaning to what is painted on the canvas based on the emotions you feel from viewing the details.

They are not codes

Contrary to what many believe, abstract art is not a code to be cracked. While messages are subliminal, the worth and value of a piece is for everyone to see and interpret. Most works are not required to have a specific meaning or explanation but it is required to send a sense of emotion and stimulate thought. Abstract art is an experience that is not spoon fed, but rather a natural high, if you will, for the audience to appreciate.The beauty of it lies in how each individual gets something exclusive out of an abstract painting that no one else gets. These are then validated by the freedom to use our individual emotions and imagination which when discussed collectively, further shows that the piece has achieved its intent.

You need to review elements

The next question is how do we know if the emotions we are feeling towards a piece of abstract art is correct. How can you tell if you have understood it? Is it okay to not get it?

There are many approaches to how one can appreciate or understand abstraction but it never is the same when viewing other painting styles such as Realism, Impressionism, or Favism. In abstraction, you look for certain elements that point you to the artist’s essence. Critiquing everything from the colors used, shapes, values, the position and size of the subject, and space. Weighing the strengths of these elements within the composition will send signals to your emotions and give you the opportunity to explore each of the formal qualities.

Don’t fret when you don’t instantly feel an appreciation for a certain piece of abstract art. That doesn’t mean you have lost your inventiveness and hunger for discovery. Abstract art is a challenge to grasp and understand and it definitely requires more profound senses of empathy and intuition. The real joy is when you get to feel something about a piece that you are free to interpret with your own thoughts and individuality.

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