You may like Abstract Art, outright hate it, or just don’t understand what it even is. All of these reactions are justifiable – this is a perplexing art form that goes beyond categorization or definition. So, what is Abstract Art? How did it come about? How has it influenced other art forms over the years? Let’s explore all of that in this article.
Literally speaking, Abstract means the “distancing of an idea from objective referents.” In simple words, this would mean taking a depiction away from any literal reference point and representing an idea that isn’t immediately tangible. Abstract Art is also sometimes referred to as Nonrepresentational Art.
“Abstraction allows man to see with his mind what he cannot see physically with his eyes… Abstract Art enables the artist to perceive beyond the tangible, to extract the infinite out of the finite. It is the emancipation of the mind. It is an exploration into unknown areas.”
― Arshile Gorky
Abstract Art: An Introduction
Let’s start with history: Abstract Art has been around for well over a century. Some might say it goes far beyond that – all the way back to cave paintings from thousands of years ago. However you define it, Abstract Art has held its own against changing art movements for centuries.
Abstract Art & Film
Abstract films take from a specific branch of cinematography – an experimental art in comparison with cinema art itself. It is only regarded as part of cinema art because of their common technical equipment, not because of their means, language or purpose. Abstract films contain no acting and don’t attempt to recreate reality or concrete subjects. Many abstract films have also been made with animation techniques.
From Anemic Cinema to Begone Dull Care and Hans Richter – Film Ist Rhythm: Rhythmus 21 (c1921) – Abstract Art has had an important influence on experimental, non-narrative films that communicate ideas in unique ways.
Abstract Art & Design
Whether it is a champagne flute inspired by a Dan Flavin installation, a shoe line inspired by Op Art, or set decoration inspired by James Turrell – the combo of Abstract Art and Design can be found everywhere. Be it architecture, furniture, advertising or fashion (which we’ll cover in detail) – Abstract Art continues to influence design because of one simple tendency: designers are influenced by art!
“The less there is to look at, the more important it is that we look at it closely and carefully. This is critical to abstract art. Small differences make all the difference.”
― Kirk Varnedoe, Pictures of Nothing: Abstract Art Since Pollock
Today, Abstract Art has had a profound influence on design subcategories like Op Art, Abstract Expressionism, Neoplasticism and Minimalism. All of this has made Abstract Art the foundation of so much design in our culture today.
Abstract Art & Music
Music is already a relatively more ‘abstract’ art form because it captures emotional states and other intangibles. Music is an art form that uses the elements of sound and divisions of time to make an impact.
Many abstract film directors have made use of music to add a sense of harmony and motion to the images in their films and leave audiences in awe.
Abstract Art & Fashion
Have a look at Chanel’s art-fair-style runway and it becomes clear: the relationship between fashion and abstract art isn’t just prominent, but also very profitable. This is not, by any means, a newly found phenomenon though! All the way back in 1937, Salvador Dali joined forces with Elsa Schiaparelli to produce a surreal, lobster-print gown made of synthetic horsehair and silk organza. Fast forward to the 21st Century, and you have a company like Dress Abstract combining abstract art with high fashion.
The association between these two different-but-similar art forms has become stronger than ever before – as more and more people begin to appreciate the aesthetic of abstract art in high-quality fabrics.
Abstract Art, no matter how niche and complex it may seem, has had a significant influence on many art-forms we encounter in our daily life. So, next time you spot that gorgeous Chanel piece on your Instagram timeline, thank the creators of Abstract Art for helping bring it to life!
Looking to explore more art genres? Head over to Joe Latimer.com for a multidisciplinary, visually stunning experience. ☮️❤️🎨
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