Art Directory India

The Evolution of the Abstract Art Form


Abstract painting is a form of ‘subjective’ or ‘non- objective’ art. It does not adhere to the things we see around us like realism but intends to stimulate our artistic minds. It is based on the play of colors, shapes, textures etc. There is no definite meaning of this art form as the term suggests, it is an ‘abstract’ concept.
It is a subjective form in the sense that every viewer perceives the meaning in his own unique way. Abstract art form may not have excellent or complex drawing but maybe quiet aesthetically appealing in the brilliant usage of colors, textures and shapes. It is based on the aesthetic play of the mind. Even a blank canvas with paint-splattered of a single color or a canvas with a blob of color in the center appeals to the viewer because of the subjective aesthetic value it holds. There has been a massive shift from what we see to what we ought to see. The meaning behind the work is more important than just the work itself.
Abstract art form has been said to originate approximately 70,000 years back with the prehistoric cave paintings. A famous ancient abstract art is the two rocks with geometrical engravings in the Blombos cave in South Africa.
It is a well-known fact that most of the world-famous artists were Europeans. Up until the 19th century, the dominant art form was realism. Then in the late 19th century began the emergence of the ‘impressionistic’ art form. There began a gradual shift from the academic realistic and naturalistic art form to a more abstract based modern art form. Impressionism became a popular art form gradually. With the rising emergence of the impressionistic art form the importance of colors and textures in an artwork increased. Artist Wassily Kandinsky wrote a book titled “On the Spiritual in Art” in the year 1911 which emphasized on the value of shapes and colors in a piece of art. This book became an important text about abstract painting. According to Wassily his composition V, 1911 was the world’s first-ever abstract painting.
Against the rising idea of impressionism emerged cubism which depicted reality in a different style using different angles of an object on a flat plane. Cubism was developed by the well-renowned artist Pablo Picasso. Then began a more geometric style of representation in art. Gradually the academic style of realism was fading away.
Along with the development of the geometric art style around the year 1920 developed the style of ‘surrealism.’ The word surreal mean fantasy or dreamlike. One of the most famous artists of the ‘surrealism’ art form was Salvador Dali.
With time the modern art form developed in New York and there was a growth in the ‘abstract expressionistic’ art form. The famous artist Jackson Pollock was one of the leaders of this significant art movement. The abstract expressionistic art form laid more emphasis on colors rather than shapes. Then in Europe emerged a more ‘European’ form of the ‘abstract expressionistic’ art form.
Then there was the emergence of the famous ‘optical art’ where the play is on the vision of the viewer. Victor Vasarely was an important member of this movement.
Now, when we come to the ‘postmodern’ style of abstract art form or the ‘contemporary art’ it completely disregards the primitive styles of paintings and there is more fragmentation in the idea of the post-modern style with new emerging forms. The post-modern style began during the year 1970. Though there is still prevalent the style of minimalism and against it neo-expressionism. With the growth of the contemporary art form, developed different forms of it like conceptual art, pop art etc.
Throughout the years, art has seen various shifts and developments such as realism to expressionism to cubism to surrealism to contemporary art from. The most important changes are seen in the shift from Renaissance art to modern art form to the current postmodern art form. There has been a shift from realism and portraying things exactly as they are to varied forms of ‘abstract’ depiction.

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