You might read the title above and think, “Isn’t abstract art all about the modern era, or today?” The simple answer is “no.” As odd as it might sound, many of humanity’s earliest cultures had what could be easily defined as “abstract art.”
In England, the Tate Gallery stands as one of the leading museums, and that organization says that abstract art is “art that does not attempt to represent an accurate depiction of a visual reality but instead uses shapes, colors, forms, and gestural marks to achieve its effect.” That effect could be to stir some sort of emotional response, like the works of Jackson Pollock. It could be to emulate the feelings and thoughts we have when listening to music, like the works of Kandinsky. Yet, it might also seek to depict human forms, like the famous 12th-century Chinese painting known as “Immortal in Splashed Ink,” which many see as a human-like figure in motion.
“Immortal in Splashed Ink”
So, that tells us one thing: Abstract Art is not locked in as modern art only.
It is also why we have “contemporary abstract art,” which is (as an article in Widewalls tells us) “making a big comeback.” And, they point out that it is not just in the art market where auctions might see the work of contemporary abstract artists like Warhol experience a surge in interest and pricing, but also in the rise of contemporary abstract artists.
The Style of the Age: Contemporary Art and Abstract Artists
The turn of the century from 1999 to 2000 also saw a “pluralism of different art movements,” and we cannot claim to have a specific style for our age. Yet, contemporary abstract art is widely accepted at a level not previously matched in the past.
And contemporary abstract artists are becoming celebrities in their own right. As an article from ARTnews explained, we can see abstract art now within six categories, with three responding “to nature: cosmologies, landscapes, and anatomies. And three respond to culture: fabrics, architecture, and signs.”
Each category has its major names including Chris Martin, responding to the age of the Internet in his paintings, and Anish Kapoor changing and distorting the landscape with enormous outdoor sculptural displays and asking viewers to interact at a level they may have never been asked to in the past.
Artist Chris Martin
As the article goes on to explain, the evolution of abstract art “has been a series of responses to the experience of life in the 20th and 21st centuries…a world, in which the individual is rendered powerless by anonymous government agencies, giant corporations, and deafening mass culture. It’s useful to remember that this nightmare vision is itself a romantic stereotype, ignoring the positive aspects of postmodern society.”
Summarizing contemporary abstract art is how “we think about the future,” it fails to mention geometric abstract art. This, emerging in the early 1900s was about “pure feeling or perception,” and its evolution through Cubism and Futurism to today’s forms. Described in another article as “one of the forces to be reckoned with in today’s art scene,” and goes on to list an extensive collection of major names and emerging talents.
A study of purity in geometry and color, it is about interactions and the elimination of physical reality and perspective, allowing viewers to take from it what they want or need. Energy, technology, merging…these are all words that can be used to describe much of the contemporary abstract and geometric abstract art. Used as wall art and as patterns for clothing, inspiring advertising and even entertainment, abstract art, and particularly geometric abstract art is a very modern way for artists to depict emotion and speak to the masses.
"Farbstudie Quadrate" by Wassily Kandinsky