My Journey Through Abstract Art & The Myth of "I Don't Get It"

What exactly is Abstract Art? Is it anything? Does it mean anything? I used be really confused by it and wonder why everyone else seems to "get it" while I was left in the dark. You may not like abstract art, but I hope that today you can appreciate it a little bit more. :) And like me, I hope you realize that it's not about "getting it", it's about experiencing it.

So, when I looked up definitions of abstract art I came across two very different views...

1. Abstract Art
noun Abstract art seeks to break away from traditional representation of physical objects. It explores the relationships of forms and colors, whereas more traditional art represents the world in recognizable images. (dictionary.com)

Then , according to Urban Dictionary, 
2. Abstract Art:
Art with no defined meaning. Its purpose is to let the viewer interpret its meaning for him/herself. More often than not, abstract art is a collection of meaningless shapes and colors thrown onto a canvas. The intellectual art community, however, looks at this and calls the author a genius, promptly shelling out tons of money to buy a mess that could have been accidentally created by a two year old.

Wow, quite a difference right? Well, both views agree that abstract paintings don't have a physical subject matter (like a still life or portrait) but instead, they let the viewer experience and decide for themselves what the painting is about or how it makes them feel.  A few of my favorite abstract artists helped me understand this through experience... and you can too!

I first found her work on Pinterest and noticed that I was so drawn to her color schemes and interesting designs. How could I not consider the way these colors make me feel why some areas of the paintings feel "tight" while other areas are freely dripping?

Marc Rothko
I was first truly introduced to this artist by my friend Ragan is very passionate about art and color. Rothko is her favorite artist and now every time I see one of his paintings in a museum, I can't help but take a moment to soak it in. Read more about what she loves about his work here.

I had never known an artist who painted his beliefs. That sounds so strange doesn't it? But if you'll take a moment to look at this series of paintings on grace, I hope you'll notice how rich, both, soft and beautiful this subject matter is to him. 

I don't know how you feel about abstract art and of course you're entitled to your own opinions. I do hope that you'll consider why I disagree with the second definition. Clearly these artists didn't just throw random shapes and colors on a canvas and call it "art". These paintings are truly expressions from an artist's heart, reaching through colors, shapes, brush stokes and designs... not haphazardly, but in a thoughtful and honest way sharing a bit of themselves. 
So, how do you know if you "get it". I think the point isn't really "getting" a work of abstract art, but experiencing and enjoying it. Consider what it means to you. Think about what feelings you have when you look at it. Does it make you happy? anxious? excited? overwhelmed? calmed? Art is a powerful tool of expression. 

The next time you see an abstract painting, I hope you won't shy away, but truly look at it and experience it. :) What do you think? Do you have a favorite abstract artist? Do you like abstract art? I'm excited to hear what you think!

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