I recently heard someone confidently exclaim
“Abstract Art is bad art made by bad artists”
Ouch! I think everyone is entitled to their opinion, but when it is declared as a fact I have to respond.
An abstract painting does not attempt to represent something a viewer can recognize.
The subject of the painting is not a figure, an object, a place, a narrative.
The subject of the painting is the painting.
An abstract work invites the viewer to engage their imagination and emotions by looking at the elements on the canvas,
If you look at what is there you give yourself a chance to be intrigued, mesmerized, and even deeply engaged, with the experience of the painting.
It might calm you, excite you, delight you. You may enjoy getting lost in it- discovering new things every time you look at it.
Abstract art has been defined in a number of different ways but the central idea is about composition, form, lines, patterns, textures, colours, Shapes and movement.
Some abstract art offers a different kind of representation where there is a suggestion of something, a figure or an object or a place but it is abstracted or obscured. Some like to call this semi-Abstract.
For example an abstract landscape allows the viewer to see the suggestion of a place, without attempting to define the viewers experience too closely.
The mind assembles the areas of the picture into a place that feels familiar yet mysterious.
Non-objective abstract art on the other hand makes no attempt to represent anything immediately recognizable and instead offers a visual experience that is exciting, or soothing or evocative or stimulating or thought provoking.
I love this quote from Robert Motherwell that sums it all up so succinctly