What is the Definition of Abstract Art?

How Can it be Understood?

The definition of abstract art starts with knowing what it does.

Did you know...

  • Children begin abstract thinking about the age of 10-14
  • Everyone engages in abstract thinking
  • It is a right brain function
  • Left brain thinking dominants still abstract think

Abstract thinking improves

  • Creativity
  • Problem solving
  • Managing emotions
  • Dreams
  • are abstract thinking supporting emotional and mental health
  • The the definition of abstract art is an abstraction

Understand Abstract Art by Understanding Abstract

To understand definition of Abstract Art, first consider what the word Abstract means.

As an adjective the definition of what abstract art: something apart from concrete existence. Things theoretical and not applied or practical, things not easily understood. When applied to art it refers to a style of art that the intellectual and affective content are dependent solely on the intrinsic form.

As a noun the definition of abstract art is the summation of the important parts of a text, the concentrated essence of the whole.

As a verb it mean to take away, to think of a quality or attribute with out thinking of a particular object or example. To summarize or remove from reality.

Things are classified as either abstract or concrete...

Often understanding the difference is intuitive. Things like love, justice, and kindness are abstract. Many people understand them in their own intuition but they are not tangible or concrete. Sometimes things related to concrete items can be abstract as well.

Chess for instance is related to the pieces and a board. But chess is only an abstraction of the game as a whole. What is Chess? Is it a game? Does it exist apart from the board?

Sometimes abstract is defined as things that are not real or only are perceived within our senses. The challenge with this thinking comes with things as diverse as social justice or the number three. So in some cases, things can be considered both real and abstract.

In language, abstractions can blur the definitions of what is real or concrete and what is abstract. In some instances, it becomes a logical fallacy. The words societyand technology are abstractions that are spoken of as nouns and treated as though they were real concrete things.

Abstractions tend to be based on our perceptual modes. We perceive things based on our dominant senses or sensory bias. So we can think an abstraction or we can feel an abstraction. Those abstract feelings can be in the realm of taste, touch, smell, sound, or what we see.

Beyond the Definition of Abstract Art

Illustration of Abstract Thinking

To illustrate, ask three people what does a cherry taste like. Numerous words can be provided but in the end, it is only their abstraction of that sensory experience.

In Psychology abstractions go beyond just thinking. They include four mutually exclusive, opposing complementary psychological functions: sensation, intuition, feeling, and thinking.

Understand Abstract Art

Abstraction is in the arts considered synonymous to abstract art. The abstract art definition tends to embody all the definitions of abstract. The adjective, the verb and the noun.

It stands apart form the concrete whole, its existence depending on intrinsic form.

Note: People have thought that abstracts could be done by a child or anyone. However when challenged to produce something equal to say, Pollack's drip paintings, it becomes apparent that there is a creative mind behind any abstract art that produces more than just paint on a canvas. There is an intrinsic value in each work of art that is produced by an artistic mind.

It also takes away the essence in realism and leaves the basic elements. It also summarizes substituting images for reality.

At it's best, an abstract artist, either with conscious or unconscious competence uses the functions or realities of various psychological mechanisms studied by the neural sciences. These psychological mechanisms are appealed to with in the work of art.

Light and dark evoke emotion, shadow becomes mood, color becomes visceral sensation.

The hope of many artist is to speak to the viewers through their painting. Even people who are not appreciative of art on viewing the right piece will have a sense of the art speaking to them.

The symphonic harmony of all the components of an abstract art work if effective, will touch you too. They will move you.

To aid this process, many good artist will include not only a name but the inspiration. Viewed in this understanding, even more understanding is possible.

Final Note

Hopefully this…Definition Abstract Art has helped you to better understand the subject.

If the lack of the word...of...between definition and abstract in the sentence you just read bothers you, then you just experienced a left brain response to an abstraction. The sentence should have read...the definition of abstract art. If you did not notice it, then your right brain filled in the blank. Either way, abstraction moved you, whether you knew it or not.

Go to the Abstract Gallery

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