Abstract art is a genre of visual art that departs from the representation of literal, tangible reality in favor of using shapes, colors, forms, and gestural marks to create compositions that emphasize a more subjective or emotional experience. Abstract artists often experiment with different techniques, mediums, and styles to convey their ideas, emotions, or perceptions through the artwork.
Unlike representational art, which seeks to depict objects, people, or scenes in a realistic manner, abstract art focuses on the non-representational aspects of the visual language. It can be non-objective, meaning it does not reference any specific subject matter, or it can be a more abstracted representation of a recognizable subject.
Abstract art emerged in the early 20th century as a response to the growing interest in exploring new ways of artistic expression. Pioneering artists such as Wassily Kandinsky and Hilma af Klint were instrumental in the development of the genre and their works continue to be influential today.
“The Ten Largest no. 3 Youth” by Hilma af Klint
Overall, abstract art aims to challenge traditional artistic conventions and provoke thought or emotional responses in the viewer. Because of its subjective nature, abstract art can be open to various interpretations, which is one of its defining characteristics.
Here is a list of five female and male artists who have made significant contributions to contemporary abstract art. Keep in mind that the art world is vast and diverse, and this list is by no means full or all-inclusive.
- Hilma af Klint: A pioneering Swedish artist and mystic who, in the early 20th century, created a vast body of abstract paintings that predated and influenced the modern abstract movement.
- Julie Mehretu: An Ethiopian-American artist, Mehretu creates complex, multi-layered paintings that combine abstract expressionism with elements of cartography, architecture, and urban landscapes.
- Amy Sillman: An American painter who explores the relationships between abstraction and representation, Sillman’s work often incorporates drawing, collage, and digital techniques in her process.
- Katharina Grosse: A German artist whose large-scale, site-specific installations and bold use of color have earned her recognition in the international art scene.
- Cecily Brown: A British painter who combines elements of abstract expressionism and figurative painting, Brown’s work is characterized by its energetic brushstrokes and sensual subject matter.
“Abstraktes Bild” by Gerhard Richter
- Gerhard Richter: A German artist whose diverse body of work spans abstract and photorealistic paintings, Richter has been a significant influence on contemporary art for decades.
- Mark Bradford: An American artist known for his large-scale, mixed-media abstract paintings that incorporate collage elements and materials sourced from urban environments.
- Anish Kapoor: A British-Indian sculptor and painter, Kapoor’s abstract works often explore themes of spirituality, illusion, and the nature of materials.
- Sean Scully: An Irish-American painter whose work is characterized by geometric shapes, bold colors, and layered compositions, Scully has been an influential figure in abstract art for many years.
- Sterling Ruby: An American artist who works in various mediums, including painting, sculpture, and ceramics, Ruby’s abstract works often address themes of social and political issues, as well as the human experience.
Dive deeper into the inspiring world of abstract art by browsing emerging and established artists on Artist Arena here!