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Understanding Abstract Art
Numerous theoretical ideas deal with abstract art. While some have taken the idea of “art for art’s sake,” others have implied that art should be like music; just as music is patterns of sound, art should be created by pure patterns of form, color, and line; there are those who see abstract art as carrying a moral dimension, abstract art can be seen to stand for virtues such as purity and spirituality; and finally, those using the term “abstract” formally, as a distinction from figuration in art (as in non-figurative).
How Abstract Art impacts our mental process
Abstract art seems to elicit different mental processes than figurative art. While representational art requires a more local and object-focused scan pattern, abstract art involves more globally distributed viewing patterns. Our brain adopts a more exploratory strategy for seeking visual clues while staring at abstract art. Hence more complex areas of our brain seem to be stimulated by abstract art.
Appreciating abstract art
To claim to understand abstract art is like pretending to understand the Universe; its complexity is beyond us. When it comes to abstract art, a more appropriate approach would be to learn to appreciate it. We can do this with an open mind and heart by looking for clues in the feelings and ideas it arises in us – the emotional approach.
Nevertheless, art in general and abstract art in particular should and must be interpreted in its historical context. Despite claiming to be a universal form of art, the ideas behind abstract art were very much generated by a cumulus of factors converging at certain point in time – rational approach.
First Experiments towards abstraction
The big revolution in art and the journey towards Abstraction began with the Modernist artistic movements. The pioneering artists of the 19th century (Claude Monet, Paul Cézanne and George Surat among others) had a burning desire to innovate, not only because the Academic Art was not representative for an industrial society but they felt the menace of a new invention called daguerreotype.
The growing popularity of the first photo camera was threatening the artists´ role of depicting reality, this is when the modern artists started to reject traditional three-dimensional space and instead used flat areas or patches of colour to create a new pictorial space.
The Avant-garde - shapes and colours
The following generation of Avant-garde artists proved to be even more radical and searched for inspiration far away from Europe, in the ancestral cultures of the African tribes. The Fauvists (like Henry Matisse or André Derrain) were interested in the scientific colour theories and in the use of complimentary colours for creating tension on the canvas. For many of the artists who adopted a fauvist approach it became a transitional stepping stone for future developments in their style, towards abstraction.
The Cubists (George Braque, Pablo Picasso or Juan Griss) proposed a new way of depicting an object: multiple viewing angles layered on the canvas. The fragmentation and reassembling of the world proposed by the Parisian cubists had encouraged several other artists, especially from countries such as Holland and Russia, to push farther into a world of forms, leaving behind any reference to recognizable objects or scenes. The invention of these new kinds of abstract or "non-objective" art coincided with the cataclysm of World War I, and the artists involved explained their innovations in terms of contemporary revolutions in both society and consciousness or as the emergence of a changed human order.
Inventing abstraction - Wassily Kandinsky
“Colour is the keyboard, the eyes are the harmonies, the soul is the piano with many strings. The artist is the hand that plays, touching one key or another, to cause vibrations in the soul.”
- Wassily Kandinsky
Until the end of the 19th century, the value of a painting was judged by its ability to represent reality. For this reason, music was often regarded by artists as a pure form of art. One of these artists was the Russian born Wassily Kandinsky. The future inventor of Abstraction was born on December 4, 1866 in Moscow and had a formal training in law, economics and ethnography. However, by the age of 30 he had abandoned a career in law; he had fled his native country for Munich, in order to pursue his passion for art.
While still living in Russia, Kandinsky found an important connection between colour and music. He is believed to have had synaesthesia, a condition that makes people perceive colour not only as a visual property of objects, but to associate colours with sounds of different qualities and intensities. He was convinced that painting, alike music, must fulfil a spiritual role.
Although Kandinsky had developed the philosophical foundation for an abstract art as early as 1909, he had been hesitant to abandon representation. After hearing Arnold Schoenberg’s concert in January 1911, his work took a completely new turn. In the following days he made quick sketches of that performance and he further diluted these drawings until only traces of the original subject remained in his paintings.
Composition V – first abstract painting?
In the summer of the same year, Kandisnky began working on Composition V, a monumental painting in size, the most radical painting displayed at that time, announcing his ambitions for abstraction. Just a few months later, after being rejected by the official salon, he included the picture in the first exhibition of Der Blaue Reiter (the Blue Rider), a group co-founded together with Franz Marc (killed during the WWI at 36 years of age).
Simultaneously, he published Concerning the Spiritual in Art, one of the first thesis to argue for artistic abstraction. His essay examines the purpose of art and how colours and forms impact the human soul. Since abstract art is freed from representation, colours and forms can display their own spirit and express the feelings of the artists. In his book, Kandinsky declares that the most advanced art offers “emotions that we cannot put into words”.
The events of 1911 were equivalent to opening Pandora’s box in art. The invention of a non-objective form of art defined in manifestos as a reflection of the deep transformation in the society, anticipated the devastation of the WWI (1914-1918) but at the same time opened unknown paths for artistic explorations.
1. The Red Tree, 1908-1910, source: Gemeentemuseum den Haag
2. The Grey Tree, 1911, source: Gemeentemuseum den Haag
3. Flowering Apple Tree 1912, source: Tate Modern
Other artists followed in Kandinsky’s steps on the path of abstraction but no other artist’s body of work can better illustrate the transformation from figurative depiction to abstraction as the Dutch painter Piet Mondrian. Mondrian’s fascination with trees developed out of his earlier landscape painting. After absorbing the influences of Cubism, Mondrian reworked the image of his trees to abstraction, and later on to primary colours. The trunk and branches were transforming into a network of verticals and horizontals. He acknowledged the inspiration of nature but added, “I want to come as close as possible to the truth, and I abstract everything from that until I reach the foundation of things”.
No. 5, 1948, Jackson Pollock, sold in 2006 in a private sale for $135 million, according to The New York Times
Abstract Expressionism - Abstraction in America
“It seems to me that the modern painter cannot express this age, the airplane, the atom bomb, the radio, in the old forms of the Renaissance or of any other past culture. Each age finds its own technique.”
Jackson Pollock - interview with William Wright, 1950
Prior to WWII, the art world has been dominated for centuries by Europe but the new geo-political reality was about to reshape dramatically the global art scene. The arrival in the United States of various immigrants associated with the Surrealist movement (André Breton, Max Ernst or Marcel Duchamp) fleeing the war was extremely well timed.
The European Surrealist proved to be a great influence on the young artists active in New York at that time. The expanding group of artists including figures such as Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Arshile Gorky, Willem de Kooning, Barnett Newman, Robert Motherwell, Clyfford Still and Adolph Gottlieb was soon labelled as “Abstract Expressionists” despite never being formally organized in an art movement.
They were, however, unified to some extent by the patronage of a wealthy heiress, Peggy Guggenheim. She is the first to organize exhibitions for the young artists at her newly open gallery, Art of This Century. No other name could better describe the gallery where Abstract Expressionism would catch the interest equally of art critics and politicians.
Jackson Pollock – the star of Abstract Art
One of Jackson Pollock’s early works (Guardians of the secret, 1943) demonstrates how stylistic borrowings from the Cubist-derived abstraction, Expressionism and Surrealism were fused with the interest in myth and primitivism and powered by the idea of large scale painting (a symbol of the rebirth of Americana, intensely promoted through the Federal Art Project – part of Roosevelt’s New Deal).
Pollock’s experiments didn’t stop at mixing various art influences but he took a very daring approach. His most accomplished works were produced in a dramatically different fashion, he rhythmically dripped and spattered industrial paints, by using a stick instead of a brush, all-over huge expanses of unstretched canvases placed on his studio floor – what became known as “drip painting”. His innovation lies in bringing the process of creation under the spotlights, his Action Painting was almost a mystic parade of gestures. Pollock is hailed by his main promoter, the art critic Clement Greenberg as the inheritor of the European abstract tradition.
By the 1949, Pollock acquired appreciable market success so that Life magazine was asking rhetorically in a now famous editorial: “Is he the greatest living painter in the United States?”. The wealthy art-buying class that were Pollock’s enthusiasts incorporated the liberal intellectuals and politicians that were becoming increasingly interested in stepping-up the cold war against Communism.
Abstract Expressionism and the Cold War
The American administration began a cultural war against the Social-Realism (an art movement associated with the communist regimes) by exporting internationally Abstract Expressionism as a symbol of the western capitalism. Just as the Marshall Plan sought to extend America’s influence in Europe through much needed it economic aid, the touring exhibition organized by MoMA with the support of CIA, sought to gain influence over the hearts of minds of Europe.
New York School of Art
By the early 1950s, the idea of an art movement called Abstract Expressionism seem more of critics´ invention than a homogenous art movement. Under the umbrella New York School you had on one hand the painters whose work was based on a gestural approach (Gestural Abstraction): De Kooning, Jackson Pollock and Robert Motherwell, on the other hand, artists like Clayford Still, Mark Rothko and Barnett Newman who relied on large fields of colour (Colour Field Painting) to produce solemn effects on their canvases. These artists had an interest in archetype and anima and studied Kandisnky´s theories.
Despite their sometimes bombastic spiritual claims and being often criticized for being egocentrics, we should not forget that Newman and Rothko were a response to the history of their times. Human dignity and spiritual aspirations have been completely crushed during the WWII and their art was a way of healing the trauma of this great tragedy of human kind. As Paul Klee remarked in 1915: “The more fearful the world becomes, the more art becomes abstract”.
Because of the huge influence of Abstract Expressionism in post-war America, other artists and movements are generally understood in relation to it. Ad Reinhardt in the early 1950s and then Frank Stella later in the decade painted abstract canvases, but rejected the Abstract Expressionist based on gesture They instead reinforced the essence of the painting as a physical object through precise geometric forms and smooth application of paint, anticipating the Minimalism art. Since the Abstract Expressionism painting was fundamentally “performative” it is regarded as the starting point for the Happenings (Allan Kaprow) of the 1960. Few decades later Abstract Art fell into semi-obscurity for a while only to be resuscitated and to coexist along a wide variety of art forms and ideas, so typical of our post-modern reality.
“Abstraction allows man to see with his mind what he cannot see physically with his eyes… Abstract art enables to perceive beyond the tangible, to extract the infinite out of the finite. It is the emancipation of the mind. It is an exploration into unknown areas.” – Arshile Gorky
Author: Floarea Baenziger
1. David Hopkins, After Modern Art 1945-2000, Oxford University Press, 2000, pp. 5-33;
2. Robert Hughes, The Shock of the New: Art and the Century of Change, Thames & Hudson Ltd, 2004;
3. Kirk Varnedoe, Pictures of Nothing: Abstract Art since Pollock, Princeton University Press, 2006;
4. Leah Dickerman, Inventing abstraction – How a radical idea changed modern art, 1910-1925, catalogue MoMA, New York, 2013;
1. Helen A. Harrison, Through a Glass Brightly: Jackson Pollock in His Own Words, The New York Times, Nov. 15, 1998;
2. Pepe Karmel, The Golden Age of Abstraction: Right Now, ARTnews, April 24, 2013;
3. Meyer Schapiro, Nature of Abstract Art, www.on-curating.org, October 2003;
4. Celia Durkin, Eileen Hartnett, Daphna Shohamy, An objective evaluation on the beholder’s response to abstract and figurative art based on construal level theory, PNAS, August 2020.
Author: Floarea Bänziger, RtistiQ curator
RtistiQ is a leading online art marketplace that features a wide curated selection of Abstract art created by emerging and established artists from all over the world. All artworks are original and blockchain powered so you can shop abstract art with an ease of mind. Discover all abstract artworks here.
Understanding the Distinction: Contemporary Art vs Modern Art
Over several centuries, Art has evolved with various movements and styles shaping its rich history. Two terms that often confuse people are "contemporary art" and "modern art", more in the context that the words Contemporary and Modern are used interchangeably to mean something in-trend now. While these terms may seem interchangeable, they refer to distinct periods and artistic approaches in the world of art. This article will explore the distinction between contemporary and modern art, shedding light on their characteristics, influences, and significance. Modern Art A Historical Breakthrough Modern Art refers to the period of art that emerged in the late 19th century and prevailed until the mid-20th century. It departed from traditional artistic conventions and embraced innovative techniques, materials, and subject matters. Modern artists sought to challenge established norms and explore new ways of representing the world. One crucial characteristic of Modern Art is its emphasis on experimentation and formal innovation. Artists like Pablo Picasso, Wassily Kandinsky, and Henri Matisse revolutionized art through abstract forms, vibrant colours, and the deconstruction of perspective. They rejected the idea of art solely imitating reality and instead focused on conveying emotional and psychological states. Moreover, modern art was influenced by historical events and societal changes. The impact of World War I, industrialization, and rapid urbanization fueled the desire for artistic expressions that reflected the tumultuous times. Movements such as Cubism, Fauvism, and Surrealism emerged, each with its unique style and thematic focus. Contemporary Art Reflections of the Present In contrast, contemporary art encompasses the artistic practices and expressions of the present time. It emerged in the mid-20th century and continues to evolve as new ideas and technologies emerge. Unlike modern art, Contemporary Art does not adhere to a specific style or movement but embraces diversity and individuality. One defining feature of contemporary art is its inclusivity and openness to various mediums, such as installation, video art, performance, and digital art. Artists like Ai Weiwei, Yayoi Kusama, and Banksy expand the limits of traditional artistic norms and engage with social, political, and cultural issues. Contemporary Art often challenges the viewer's perception, prompting them to question societal norms and ideologies. Another significant characteristic of contemporary art is its global nature. With the advent of technology and globalization, artists have greater access to diverse cultural influences and artistic practices. This has led to a rich tapestry of creative expressions that transcend geographical boundaries and reflect our world's interconnectedness. Conclusion While contemporary art and modern art share a timeline, they are distinct in their approach, style, and influences. Modern Art, emphasizing experimentation and formal innovation, revolutionized the world of Art during the early 20th century. It responded to its time's social and cultural changes and challenged conventional artistic practices. On the other hand, Contemporary Art reflects the artistic expressions of the present moment. It embraces diversity, inclusivity, and new mediums and technologies. Contemporary artists explore a wide range of themes, often engaging with societal issues and pushing the boundaries of traditional art forms. By understanding the differences between Contemporary Art and Modern Art, we can better appreciate the unique contributions of each period and gain a deeper insight into the ever-evolving world of Art. Cover image via Paul Cheng (United States) - Heavy Rain Street
Famous Abstract Art and Artists
Abstract art is a captivating and revolutionary movement that emerged in the early 20th century, challenging the conventions of representational art. It sought to express emotions, ideas, and concepts through non-representational forms, focusing on the interplay of colour, line, shape, and composition. Abstract art opened up new possibilities for artists to explore the depths of their creativity and create works that transcend the confines of reality. The article embarks on a journey through the world of famous abstract art and delves into the lives and masterpieces of renowned abstract artists who have significantly contributed to this dynamic and expressive genre. Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944) Russian-born artist, Wassily Kandinsky, is widely regarded as one of the pioneers of abstract art. He believed that art should visually represent the artist's inner spiritual and emotional experiences. Kandinsky's early works were influenced by Russian folk art and Impressionism. However, his encounter with the artworks of the Fauvists and the vibrant colours of Matisse sparked his shift towards abstraction. Kandinsky's abstract artworks, such as "Composition VII" and "Yellow-Red-Blue," exemplify his exploration of colour, form, and composition. He believed that colour had a direct emotional and spiritual impact on the viewer. His compositions often feature bold geometric shapes, swirling lines, and vibrant, contrasting colours. Kandinsky's art not only pushed the boundaries of representation but also sought to evoke profound emotional responses from the viewer, transcending the limitations of figurative art. Color Study. Squares with Concentric Circles (1913), Is one of Kandinsky's most recognisable artworks. A small artwork on the study of colour colour combinations and the perception it carries is reverred as his most famous artwork. Piet Mondrian (1872-1944) Dutch painter Piet Mondrian was crucial in developing abstract art, particularly geometric abstraction. He believed that art should strive for universal harmony and balance, which could be achieved through simplification and using primary colours and straight lines. Mondrian's iconic works, such as "Composition with Red, Blue, and Yellow" and "Broadway Boogie-Woogie," embody his distinctive style. He utilized a grid of horizontal and vertical lines intersecting with primary colours and black and white rectangles. Mondrian sought to reduce art to its essential elements, emphasizing the fundamental relationships between form, colour, and space. His artworks are characterized by order, clarity, and geometric precision. Composition with Red, Blue and Yellow (1930), is an abstract masterpiece, featuring geometric shapes and primary colors, embodying the principles of De Stijl movement. Mondrian's use of straight lines and primary colors evokes a sense of harmony and balance, making it a timeless representation of modern art. The artwork has become an influential symbol of abstract expressionism and continues to inspire artists and art enthusiasts around the world. Kazimir Malevich (1879-1935) Kazimir Malevich, a Russian avant-garde artist, was a prominent figure in the development of abstract art, particularly within the Suprematist movement. He believed in the power of pure geometric forms to evoke emotion and spirituality. Malevich's most famous work, "Black Square," created in 1915, is a seminal piece in the history of abstract art. It is a bold and radical composition with a black square on a white background. Malevich described this work as the "zero degree" of painting, representing the pure essence of art stripped of any representational elements. Through Suprematism, Malevich sought to free art from the constraints of the material world and explore the transcendental nature of pure form and colour. Joan Miró (1893-1983) Joan Miró, a Spanish painter, sculptor, and ceramicist, was known for his playful and imaginative abstract artworks. His style bridged the gap between abstraction and surrealism, combining organic shapes, biomorphic forms, and symbolic elements. Miró's works, such as "The Tilled Field" and "Harlequin's Carnival," feature vibrant colours, curvilinear shapes, and whimsical symbols. He often incorporated dreamlike and childlike imagery, blurring the lines between reality and the subconscious. Miró's art exudes a sense of spontaneity, freedom, and exploration of the inner self. He believed that art should evoke emotions and connect with the viewer subconsciously. Joan Miró – Harlequin’s Carnival (1924 – 1925) Jackson Pollock (1912-1956) American artist Jackson Pollock was a crucial figure in the Abstract Expressionist movement. He revolutionized the art world with his unique approach to painting, which involved pouring and dripping paint onto a canvas on the floor. Pollock's famous "drip paintings," such as "Number 1, 1950 (Lavender Mist)" and "Autumn Rhythm (Number 30)," are dynamic and energetic compositions. Through his innovative technique, he explored the physicality of paint and the spontaneous gestures of the artist's hand. Pollock's artworks are characterized by intricate webs of drips, splatters, and gestural marks, creating a sense of movement, rhythm, and chaos. His works embody a raw and emotional expression, inviting viewers to interpret and engage with the artwork on a visceral level. No. 5, (1948) is considered one the most famous as well as the most expensive painting by Jackson Pollock Mark Rothko (1903-1970) American painter Mark Rothko is known for his large-scale colour field paintings that evoke deep emotional responses. Rothko believed that art should create an intimate and immersive experience, allowing viewers to contemplate the complexities of the human condition. Rothko's signature style involved large rectangular fields of colour, often stacked or overlapping. His compositions, such as "No. 61 (Rust and Blue)" and "White Center (Yellow, Pink and Lavender on Rose)," feature vibrant hues that seem to radiate from within the canvas. Rothko sought to create a sense of spiritual transcendence through his artworks, inviting viewers to immerse themselves in the luminous fields of colour and engage with the profound emotional depth conveyed. The famous "Orange, Red and Yellow" (1961) is not just the most famous but also grossed the highest Auction value Concluding Remarks The famous abstract artists and their artworks have left an indelible mark on the art world. Through their bold experimentation, they pushed the boundaries of artistic expression, challenging traditional notions of representation and emphasizing the power of colour, form, and composition. Wassily Kandinsky, Piet Mondrian, Kazimir Malevich, Joan Miró, Mark Rothko and Jackson Pollock are just a few visionary artists who have shaped the trajectory of abstract art. Their works continue to inspire and captivate audiences, inviting viewers to embark on a journey of introspection, emotion, and personal interpretation. Abstract art remains a testament to the limitless possibilities of human creativity and the power of art to transcend the boundaries of the tangible world. Main Image: Strange City by Liubov Kuptsova
10 Exciting Southeast Asian Artists Experimenting in Abstract Art
Abstract art has roots across many cultures, and the contemporary art scene is now filled with many artists working in the abstract from every region on Earth. Hence, the understanding of abstract art can vary among individuals with different backgrounds. Below, we’ve assembled 10 of the most exciting abstract artists from Southeast Asia. These artists represent a wide variety of aesthetic approaches and span multiple generations. What is clear from these artists is that Southeast Asia continues to produce some of the most exciting voices in the world of abstract art. No survey of the field is complete without their work. Vietnam 1. Ha Manh Thang (b. 1980) Cry For A Flag #2 (2020) [SOURCE] Ha Manh Thang is a Vietnamese artist who is working at the forefront of his culture. As tidal shifts continue to occur since Doi Moi — a series of reforms set forth in 1986 that have brought Western corporations and values into the country — he discusses these ongoing changes on the canvas. His abstract works are as much studies in texture as in color, using the paint to build forms that cast shadows and reach out from the surface. While his figurative pieces are often satirical confrontations with society, these newest experimentations give his work a more universal tone. Ha Manh Thang received a degree from Hanoi Fine Arts University in 2004, going on to participate in several notable regional and international exhibitions. He currently lives in Hanoi. 2. Tulip Duong (b. 1966) My Window (2018) [SOURCE] Tulip Duong revels in the fast paced, the things in the world that are coming into being. Her abstract art borders on representation, though it never quite coheres into a full image. Instead, the pieces hang in that liminal space just before fully materializing. Working from her Hanoi studio, Tulip Duong has shown work around the world, touching on global issues while still maintaining Vietnamese characteristics in her compositions. This riveting connection is held together by her singular voice. The centrality of her viewpoint runs throughout her oeuvre, even as her paintings continue to explore new horizons. Since 2000, Tulip Duong’s work has appeared in several group and solo shows, as well as publications. 3. Tran Tuan (b. 1961) Spring (2012) [SOURCE] Vietnamese artist Tran Tuan’s career covers many different forms and approaches, but all of his work stands out as vivid, colorful and energetic studies. These paintings are alive with bold, heavy brushstrokes stitched together in unexpected ways. His abstract work takes a maximalist approach, every inch of his canvases are alive and urgent. He manages these brilliant palettes through an almost athletic vigor. The overwhelming images deliver the viewer over to a world entirely its own, one built out of dazzling color and intricate brushwork. Tran Tuan’s work appears in private collections throughout Europe, North America and Australia. He received his degree from Fine Art University of Hanoi in 1990. Indonesia 4. Christine Ay Tjoe (b. 1973) Large Space of Shoots #2 (2020) [SOURCE] Chrstine Ay Tjoe is an Indonesian artist who restlessly seeks out the depths of the human condition. Her work spans many mediums, including: intaglio prints, textiles, painting, drawing, sculpture and large-scale installations. Her abstract paintings carry on the mission of her entire career, evoking the power — and darkness — in subjective experience. These works are splashes of complex forms on white canvas, both cryptic and beautiful. While an initial glance might only find confusion, a closer look reveals intricate control and detail work. These are intricately crafted pieces, with forms that seem to arise spontaneously out of the amorphous composition. Christine Ay Tjoe works in Bandung, her hometown. Her work has appeared around the world. 5. Erizal As (b. 1979) Formless Existence (2019) [SOURCE] Erizal As creates rhythmic, almost musical abstract works. His muscular brushstrokes and use of heavy layers of paint create crowded canvases that deliver up an excessive bounty. In all that excess is patterning akin to syncopation, a tension between the expectation of the viewer and where the art ultimately takes them. His work deals in real subject matter, but it handles scenes and portraiture in an entirely abstract way. This approach delivers an experience very rare in abstract painting, again testing expectations. His work often takes on themes like authenticity, or the lack of it, often with a critical eye toward society and power. Erizal As received his education at the Indonesian Institute of Fine Art. His selected group and solo exhibitions have appeared across Southeast Asia. 6. Rinaldi Syam (b. 1976) Landscape Color (2019) [SOURCE] Rinaldi Syam is a painter and sculptor working out of Indonesia. His abstract paintings are filled with sumptuous forms in a kind of collage, quilted together in rough edged regions. The soft texture draws the eye in, and the complex composition keeps the viewer there to decode what they have found. His work sometimes moves from the abstract to the surreal, but always with hallucinatory grandeur and a deeply felt sense of beauty. While his canvas sometimes overflows with detail, there is a gentleness to his technique, always rendering forms with reverence. That care and tenderness seeps out when looking at his paintings, a calming force that quietsthe space. Rinaldi Syam lives and works in Yogyakarta. His work has won several awards in both Indonesia and Japan. Thailand: 7. Nim Kruasaeng (b. 1974) [SOURCE] Nim Kruasaeng’s paintings are simple, elegant observations. Their presence is unassuming and yet captivating. They gradually make their way through to the viewer, never demanding attention but always earning it — the way you lean in when someone whispers. The pieces often rely on rhythm and a palette of only two or three colors. Her ability to get the most out of these pared down elements reveals the mastery of the artist and her guiding obsessions: the relation between bodies in space, the pleasure of a perfect line, the ability to say more with suggestion than direct description. It is through thesegrounding ideas that her delicate and meditative work flows. Nim Kruaseng is a self-taught artist who found recognition in the 1990’s from peers in the Thai art scene. She currently lives and works in both Bangkok and Pattaya. 8. Udomsak Krisanamis (b. 1966) Your Disco Needs You (2001) [SOURCE] Udomsak Krisanamis has built a career out of conceptually rigorous paintings that continue to develop a single line of thought. Through the integration of mixed-media on his canvas — including cellophane, noodles, newspaper, among other items — he builds pieces that combine strict formalism with exploration at the borders of these self-imposedlimits. The diversity born out of this single project is sweeping, though always anchored by his trademark style. The longer one takes in his work, the more one gets into the headspace of its creator. It is a journey into an uncompromising artistic vision that continues to remake the world. Udomsak Krisanamis currently lives and works in Bangkok. He received his education at Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok and the Art Institute of Chicago. His solo and group exhibitions have shown internationally. Singapore: 9. Genevieve Chua (b. 1984) EdgeControl #21, More True Than False (2017) [SOURCE] Genevieve Chua makes abstract work that seeks to evoke natural forms while always inserting visual reference from technological artifacts like the glitch. She aggressively explores beyond the expected presentation of painting, pushing the uneasy mix of the natural and the digital even further. Her work often breaks out of the traditional canvas, exploring unique objects to introduce abstract painting. She incorporates shaped canvases that come together to produce a kind of deconstructed canvas for her to explore. She also integrates printing methods to ground her painting, like screen prints and giclée prints. Genevieve Chua received her education at the Royal College of Art in London. Her solo exhibitions have spanned Asia, with group exhibitions around the world. 10. Jamie Tan (b. 1990) IntoxicatedCalls (2018) [SOURCE] Jamie Tan takes color field into the next century with a unique take on the genre that is informed as much by the structure of computer displays as the career of Rothko. Rather than taking off into highly conceptual detours, his work keeps returning to color. The paintings use a sophisticated understanding of that single tool and continue to reimagine how to present it. The clean lines and interlaced patterns of color strips that define Jamie Tan’s work produce energy and movement through their interaction. But these pieces are not just practices in color theory. They also serve as a link in the discussion begun by color field painters from the century past with the current visual landscape of contemporary society. Jamie Tan earned a degree in Fine Arts from Lasalle College of the Arts in 2017. His first solo show debuted in 2019 Inspired by the artists? Shop abstract art on RtistiQ Art Marketplace. Enjoy 7 Day Delivery & 14 Day Return policy for all users today. Author: Jonathan M Clark
ARTICLES ON ART 101
Art Deco Styles: An Iconic Fusion of Elegance and Modernity
Art Deco is a prominent design style that emerged in the 1920s and flourished until the outbreak of World War II. Characterized by its luxurious materials, geometric forms, and streamlined aesthetic, Art Deco became a symbol of glamour and sophistication during the interwar period. This design movement impacted various visual arts, architecture, fashion, and interior design aspects. This article will delve into the captivating world of Art Deco styles, exploring its origins, key characteristics, influential artists and architects, and its lasting legacy. Origins and Influences Art Deco drew inspiration from various sources, blending elements from different cultures, historical periods, and artistic movements. The style's name derives from the 1925 Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes held in Paris, where it was first showcased. However, its roots can be traced back to the early 20th century, influenced by the avant-garde art movements of the time, such as Cubism and Fauvism. One of the significant influences on Art Deco was the discovery of King Tutankhamun's tomb in 1922, which sparked a craze for Egyptian motifs and symbolism. This fascination with ancient Egypt led to incorporation of pyramids, sphinxes, hieroglyphics, and other Egyptian-inspired motifs into Art Deco designs. Additionally, the style's streamlined forms and angular geometry were influenced by the emerging field of industrial design and the aesthetic of machines. Key Characteristics Art Deco is characterized by distinct visual features that make it instantly recognizable. Here are some key characteristics of Art Deco styles: Geometric Shapes: Art Deco embraces geometric shapes, such as zigzags, chevrons, triangles, and stepped forms. These shapes are often used to create dynamic, visually striking compositions. Streamlined Silhouettes: Inspired by the sleek lines of modern technology and transportation, Art Deco features streamlined, aerodynamic silhouettes. These can be seen in the period's buildings, furniture, and even fashion designs. Luxurious Materials: Art Deco celebrates luxury and opulence, employing exotic woods, marble, chrome, glass, and precious metals like gold and silver. These lavish materials contribute to the overall sense of elegance associated with the style. Decorative Elements: Art Deco designs often incorporate elaborate decorative elements, such as sunbursts, stylized floral motifs, and geometric patterns. These decorative details add a touch of sophistication to the overall composition. Bold Colors: Art Deco embraces bold, contrasting colour schemes. Vivid hues like royal blue, emerald green, ruby red, and vibrant yellow are frequently used to create a visually striking impact. Sunburst Motifs: The sunburst motif, symbolizing energy and optimism, is a recurring theme in Art Deco designs. It is often represented as a radiating pattern of geometric lines or a stylized sun. Influential Artists and Architects Numerous artists and architects played significant roles in shaping and popularizing Art Deco styles. Here are a few key figures: Tamara de Lempicka: A prominent Art Deco painter, de Lempicka's works epitomize the style's elegance and glamour. Her portraits often featured fashionable, confident women in luxurious settings. Émile-Jacques Ruhlmann: Ruhlmann was a renowned French furniture designer who created exquisite Art Deco pieces. His furniture designs combined luxurious materials with precise craftsmanship and sleek silhouettes. Erté: A Russian-born artist and designer, Erté was renowned for his extravagant fashion illustrations and costume designs. His work showcased the epitome of Art Deco elegance and sophistication. Raymond Hood: An influential architect, Hood's designs include the iconic Rockefeller Center in New York City. He incorporated Art Deco elements into the skyscraper's design, contributing to the style's popularity in the United States. Clarice Cliff: A British ceramic artist, Cliff revolutionized the pottery industry with her bold and colourful Art Deco designs. Her pottery pieces featured geometric patterns and vibrant glazes. Legacy and Modern Interpretations Although the heyday of Art Deco was in the early 20th century, its influence and appeal continue to resonate in modern design. Art Deco elements can be found in contemporary architecture, interior design, and fashion. In architecture, buildings like the Chrysler Building in New York City and the Napier Municipal Theatre in New Zealand exemplify the enduring impact of Art Deco. These structures continue to captivate audiences with their sleek lines, decorative details, and innovative use of materials. In interior design, Art Deco-inspired furniture and decor remain highly sought after. The style's emphasis on luxury and glamour translates well into modern homes, with its sleek lines and geometric patterns adding a touch of sophistication to any space. Art Deco influences can be seen in the designs of many contemporary fashion houses. The use of bold colours, geometric patterns, and luxurious materials harkens back to the elegance and allure of the Art Deco era. Conclusion Art Deco styles represent a fascinating fusion of elegance and modernity. Emerging in the 1920s, this design movement embraced geometric shapes, luxurious materials, and bold colours. Its influence extended to various artistic fields, leaving an indelible mark on architecture, interior design, fashion, and more. With its timeless appeal, Art Deco continues to captivate audiences and inspire contemporary design. The legacy of this iconic style serves as a testament to its enduring popularity and artistic significance.
Exploring Pop Art: Definition, Movement, and Notable Artists
Pop Art emerged as a vibrant and influential artistic movement in the mid-1950s, challenging traditional notions of art and embracing the popular culture of the time. With its bold imagery, vibrant colors, and incorporation of everyday objects, Pop Art brought art closer to the masses. This article explores the definition, key characteristics, notable artists, and lasting impact of Pop Art on the art world and popular culture. What is Pop Art? Pop Art, short for "popular art," was a movement that emerged in the United States and the United Kingdom during the 1950s and 1960s. It was a reaction against the dominant abstract expressionist movement, which focused on subjective, introspective, and non-representational art. Pop Art, on the other hand, celebrated the ordinary, the commercial, and the mundane, drawing inspiration from mass-produced consumer goods, advertising, and popular culture. What are the characteristics of Pop Art? Appropriation and Repetition: Pop Art often incorporated images and objects taken from popular culture, such as product packaging, comic books, and celebrities. Artists manipulated and repeated these images to highlight their significance and challenge the concept of originality. Bold Colors and Simplified Forms: Pop artists used vibrant, eye-catching colors to attract attention and evoke a sense of consumerism. They simplified forms and employed graphic techniques, reminiscent of advertising and comic book aesthetics. Irony and Critique: Pop Art often conveyed a sense of irony and critique by juxtaposing disparate elements, subverting traditional art forms, and challenging societal norms. It questioned the boundaries between high and low culture, art and mass production, and the commercialization of society. Leading Artists of the Pop Art Movement Andy Warhol: One of the most iconic figures associated with Pop Art, Warhol employed screen-printing techniques to reproduce everyday objects, such as Campbell's soup cans and Coca-Cola bottles. His work explored themes of consumerism, fame, and the cult of celebrity. Roy Lichtenstein: Lichtenstein is renowned for his comic book-inspired paintings, featuring bold lines, Ben-Day dots, and speech bubbles. By appropriating and enlarging comic strip panels, he elevated popular culture to the realm of high art. Claes Oldenburg: Oldenburg's sculptures took ordinary objects and transformed them into monumental works of art. His oversized sculptures of hamburgers, typewriters, and clothespins challenged the viewer's perception of scale and materiality. Richard Hamilton: Considered the father of British Pop Art, Hamilton explored the relationship between art and technology. His collage-like works incorporated images from advertising, cinema, and popular magazines, reflecting the media-saturated society. Impact and Legacy Pop Art's influence extends far beyond its initial emergence in the 1960s. Its vibrant and accessible style has had a lasting impact on contemporary art, design, fashion, and popular culture. Pop Art paved the way for subsequent art movements such as Neo-Pop, Street Art, and the appropriation art of the 1980s. It blurred the boundaries between high and low art, challenged the traditional notions of artistic value, and emphasized the democratization of art. Concluding Remarks Pop Art revolutionized the art world by breaking away from the abstract and introspective tendencies of the time. It celebrated the everyday, the commercial, and the popular culture, making art more accessible to a wider audience. Through its use of appropriation, bold colors, and irony, Pop Art continues to captivate and inspire, leaving an indelible mark on contemporary art and popular culture.
Exploring Art Medium: A Fusion of Category and Material in Art Creation
Art is a vast and diverse realm that encompasses a wide range of creative expressions. Within this realm, the concept of "Art Medium" holds a crucial role, serving as the bridge between artistic intent and tangible creation. The medium that an artist chooses to work with can have a significant impact on the style and meaning of the artwork. For example, a painting made with oil paints will have a different look and feel than a painting made with watercolors. In the context of Art attribution "Art Medium" has been used interchangeably to refer both the category of artwork and the materials used to bring forth an artist's vision. This article delves into the multifaceted nature of art medium, exploring its dual significance in the world of art. Art Medium as a Category of Art In its first sense, an art medium represents the various categories or disciplines within the field of art. Each medium possesses distinct characteristics, techniques, and artistic approaches. Let's explore some of the prominent art mediums: Painting: Painting is a traditional and widely recognized medium that employs pigments on surfaces such as canvas, paper, or wood. It encompasses various styles like oil painting, watercolor, acrylics, and mixed media, each offering unique visual qualities and expressive possibilities. Painting, Pop Horizon by Barron Holand Sculpture: Sculpture involves shaping and manipulating materials such as stone, wood, metal, clay, or even found objects. Artists create three-dimensional forms that can range from classical figurative representations to abstract and conceptual installations. Sculpture, S-04 BIG FOOT by Aleks Rosenberg Drawing: Drawing is a fundamental art medium that employs pencils, pens, charcoal, or other tools to create two-dimensional representations. It encompasses techniques like sketching, shading, and hatching, allowing artists to convey ideas, explore compositions, and develop their artistic skills. Drawing, Dancer in Red by NK Hong Photography: Photography born from the marriage of science and art, captures moments through the lens of a camera. It employs light-sensitive materials and digital technologies to immortalize scenes, people, and emotions, providing a unique perspective on the world. Photography, La grève Je T'aime by Gudzovsky Printmaking: Printmaking encompasses various techniques such as etching, lithography, screen printing, and relief printing. Artists create multiple copies of their artworks, each possessing its own subtle variations, by transferring images onto paper or other surfaces. Ceramics: Ceramics involves working with clay, shaping it into objects, and firing them in kilns to achieve hardness and permanence. This ancient medium encompasses functional pottery, decorative vessels, sculptures, and intricate porcelain works. Textiles: Textile art employs fabrics, threads, and fibers to create tactile and visually engaging works. It includes techniques like weaving, embroidery, quilting, and textile installations, exploring themes of culture, identity, and materiality. Installation and Performance Art:: These mediums go beyond traditional forms, embracing immersive experiences and the participation of the audience. Artists use various materials, space, sound, and movement to create site-specific installations or enact performances that challenge the boundaries of art. Digital NFT: Very recently Digital NFT is being regarded as an art medium, and more importantly revolutionising Digital Art representation. Utilizing blockchain technology, NFTs represent unique digital assets, such as artwork, music, or videos, providing a secure and verifiable link between the digital file and ownership rights. Art Medium as Material Used in Art Creation In the alternate context, an art medium refers to the specific materials and tools employed by artists to bring their artistic visions to life. The choice of medium significantly influences the aesthetic outcome and the creative process itself. Artists often use it to describe how they created their artwork, which gives a sense of how it needs to be viewed as well. For e.g. Oil paintings ( referenced as "Oil on Canvas") are best observed from a distance to get a more clearer understanding and the depth of the Art. Again depending on the Category of work there are different materials used to fulfill the Artistic vision of the creator. Here are some examples of art mediums in the context of Material Used Paints: Artists use various types of paints, including oil paints, watercolors, acrylics, and gouache, each with its own characteristics and techniques. These pigments, when combined with binders, allow artists to manipulate color, texture, and opacity on different surfaces. A combination of the paint type and the support used form the Medium used for the artwork, for e.g. Oil on Canvas, Gouache on paper, Acrylic on Linen etc... Drawing Tools: Pencils, pens, charcoal, markers, and pastels are all examples of drawing tools that artists employ. These tools vary in hardness, texture, and line quality, enabling artists to create intricate details or bold, expressive strokes. Sculpting Materials: Sculptors utilize a plethora of materials such as stone, wood, metal, clay, plastic, and even unconventional materials like ice or food. Each material offers its unique qualities, texture, and potential for manipulation. Cameras and Photographic Equipment: With the advent of photography, cameras and photographic equipment became vital art mediums. Film cameras, digital cameras, lenses, lighting equipment, and photo-editing software all contribute to the creation of photographic art. Printmaking Supplies: Printmaking relies on materials like printing plates, inks, brayers, and printing presses. These tools facilitate the transfer of images from the plate to the chosen substrate, resulting in distinct prints with their own visual characteristics. Clay and Kilns: Ceramics artists employ different types of clay, glazes, and firing techniques to shape and fire their creations. The firing process in kilns transforms the raw materials into durable and visually captivating ceramic pieces. Fabrics and Threads: Textile artists utilize a wide range of fabrics, threads, dyes, and surface design techniques to create intricate tapestries, clothing, quilts, or fiber-based sculptures. The choice of fabric and the application of techniques contribute to the overall visual and tactile impact of the artwork. The Importance of Art Medium The medium that an artist chooses to work with can have a significant impact on the style and meaning of the artwork. For example, a painting made with oil paints will have a different look and feel than a painting made with watercolors. The medium can also affect the way that the viewer interacts with the artwork, an example being, a sculpture that is made from metal will feel different to the touch than a sculpture that is made from wood. The art medium is of utmost importance in the representation of art as it influences the aesthetics, technical possibilities, symbolic significance, and cultural context of an artwork. It allows artists to express their vision, engage viewers, and communicate their intended messages effectively. The careful consideration and deliberate selection of the art medium contribute to the overall artistic expression and impact of the artwork.Different art mediums have evolved throughout history and across cultures, reflecting the societal and historical context in which they originated. The selection of a particular medium can evoke associations and references to specific art movements, traditions, or periods. The Future of Art Mediums The art world is constantly evolving, and new art mediums are being developed all the time. For example, digital art is becoming increasingly popular, as artists use computers and other digital tools to create their work. It is impossible to predict what the future holds for art mediums. However, it is likely that new art mediums will continue to be developed, and that artists will continue to experiment with different materials and techniques. It's important to note that the future of art mediums will be shaped by the creativity and experimentation of artists themselves, as they continue to push boundaries, embrace new technologies, and explore innovative approaches to art-making. The possibilities are vast, and the future of art mediums for visual artists holds exciting potential for artistic expression and engagement with audiences. Digital, Augmented and Virtual Realities, Mixed Media, Eco-Friendly Materials, BioArt and Living Materials, all are being explored, included and evolved for Artists to continously push the boundaries of their creative abilities to produce thought provoking artworks. Conclusion In the realm of art, the term "art medium" embraces a dual meaning. It encompasses both the categorization of art forms and the materials employed by artists. The category of art medium reflects the different disciplines and techniques artists employ to create their work, while the material aspect highlights the tangible tools and substances used to manifest their creative visions. Artists' choices of medium significantly influence the visual, tactile, and conceptual qualities of their artworks. Furthermore, contemporary artists often push the boundaries of traditional mediums by exploring hybrid forms and incorporating new technologies. Understanding the significance of art medium enhances our appreciation for the diverse expressions and the innovative approaches artists employ in their creative endeavors.