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Abstract art spans genres, from the nude to the natural landscape. Find inspiration in these abstract compositions, and discover the perfect abstract photographs for your space!
From surrealism and futurism to abstract expressionism, the call to abstraction has been one of the animating imperatives of modern art. The roots of abstract art lie in late 19th century painting. Impressionist art began to seek out what artists like Claude Monet and Edgar Degas considered more faithful representations of the natural world. Artists of Expressionism also pursued a reality beyond the real, but did so by attempting to focus on and portray inner experience. In the period between the two World Wars, Surrealism took rise as a current which used a mixed pallette of realistic and magical representation, in order to elucidate that in the real world which pointed to something beyond.
The agenda of pursuing a distinctly abstract, or "non-objective" art, began contemporaneously in Europe and Russia. In Europe, avant gardists like Picasso and Piet Mondrian explored new techniques and philosophies, driven by concerns which drifted increasingly away from realism. In Russia, Wladimir Kandinsky and then Kazimir Malevich propagated powerful variants of "spiritualist" ideology, understanding the artist as a something like a demiurge, and conceiving of color and line as possessing extranatural qualities. For them, art was a vehicle to spiritual or social truth, and for its attainment in the hands of the artist. For these artists, the non-objective quality of their efforts denoted the pursuit of "realities" which were unlike the naturally given real. In their famous paintings and drawings, color, form, and line opened onto new and previously unexplored (or created) realities.
Throughout the 20th century, abstract art has been a seminal force in painting, drawing, photography, and sculpture. In the mid-20th century, abstract expressionism took off in the United States as a profoundly new movement, radicalizing and popularizing some of the fundamental ideas of abstract painters and modernist theorists. Artists like Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, and Mark Rothko created abstract paintings which were meant to be reflect the artist's physical movements, rather than the strict product of a preintended blueprint for executing the artwork. It combined the abstract as a technique of representation with expressionism as a philosophy of showing the inside on the outside.
By the mid 1960's, the authority of abstract expressionism gave way to new movements, which were centered on the decorative, functional, and social aspects of art. Transitional movements like Pop Art and neo-expressionism, with transitional figures like Robert Rauschenberg, Alex Katz, and Keith Haring led the way from art as concerned with theory and method to art as concerned with life and society.
Movements like minimalist art privileged abstract and geometrical representations above all, eschewing all superfluous and representational elements. Mid century modern art in furniture, architecture, household wares, painting, and photography pushed above all for pragmatism and economy in artistic production.
Many artists in the LUMAS exemplify the influence of abstract art, both as succeeding historical movements in the 20th century, as as a basic impulse in their creations. Artist Kate Shaw's colorful abstract landscapes, as well as the scenes by Sun Yuong Byun, show the influence of Expressionism in their bold use of color. The pulsating colors of Beatrice Hug are highly reminiscent of Rothko's Color Field Painting, in which he took color as itself a canvas and subject matter for expressionist imperatives. Explore their work, and art by a number of other famous artists in the LUMAS portfolio!
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