• John McCarthy Art

The Abstract Art Movement

When you view modern art in a museum environment, it might strike you how many different styles exist. More than 20 types of modern art exist with abstract art, the type you see on this website, as just one type. It differs from abstract expressionism art, which comes close but focuses on everyday subjects, light, and the use of visible brush strokes.


What makes abstract – abstract?


Most paintings represent something in nature or man-made. Abstract art differs by creating a non-representative work. That means the art means only what it means to you and to the artist. A painting, drawing, sculpture, or graphic artwork with abstract elements in line, form, texture, and color. It merely focuses on the artist’s expression. In these aspects, it differs from conceptual art, cubism, constructivism, dadaism, surrealism, realism, and the multitude of other schools of art.


Within abstract art, you’ll find six subtypes or schools. Each of these shows a vastly different take on abstract representation.

  • Color and light play: uses color and light to diverge from reality,

  • Curvilinear: inspired by the interlaced and spiral motifs of Celtic art,

  • Emotional: mixes styles with naturalistic forms,

  • Geometrical: follows cubism as an intellectual art,

  • Gestural: pure form using fast, loose brush strokes,

  • Minimalist: utilizes the basics of art.

How do you determine abstract art’s value?


With abstract pieces, if it resounds with you and you love it, it has value. This applies to every medium, from the canvas paintings you see on this website to NFTs on OpenSea. Collecting abstract art may provide the purest form of art collection, since the viewer has no point of reference for comparison. That is that the artwork’s viewer cannot consider how it resembles the human form, a face, a building, an animal, etc. because, as an abstract work, it in no way does. The abstract artwork simply combines media in artistic expression without discernible subject matter. If the combination of media, colors, texture, and style appeal to you, the art has value.


When Did the Abstract Movement Begin?


We find the first abstract artwork in prehistoric times, but you’re probably more familiar with the more modern application of it that began around 1910. Its popularization at that time occurred as a reaction to realism. Rather than representing a subject matter as it exists, abstract art focuses on three aspects:

  • chromatic,

  • formal,

  • structural aspects.


The Goal of Abstract Art


All art has a goal, so to speak. In the case of abstract art, the sole purpose, since it isn’t enamored with representing subject matter, is to evoke emotion or move the senses of the artwork’s viewer. It exists independently from “the real world” and looks to cause the viewer to look past the confines of their current way of thinking.


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