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6 Things You Need to Know About Abstract Art

Art Lovers | 8 June 2017

“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

Arshile Gorky drawing at Crooked Run Farm, late summer 1944. © 2017 The Arshile Gorky Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Courtesy of The Arshile Gorky Foundation and Hauser & Wirth.


Whether you are a fan or not, it’s hard to deny the importance that Abstract Art plays in the history of art. Go to any gallery, museum or auction, and you are bound to come across Abstract Art!

So here are 6 things you probably didn’t know about Abstract Art that you can use to impress your friends.

#1 ~ Abstract Art uses a Visual Language

Abstract artists use a visual language of shapes, colours and lines to create. Abstract Expressionists use this language to communicate their emotions.

Shifting Shadows

Shifting Shadows by Brenda Meynell (76 x 76cm, Acrylic on canvas)

Almost everything that could be literally interpreted is removed, and the viewer is given the opportunity to use their personal experiences to bring the painting to life. This makes abstract work very subjective, and it explains why you and your friend might have contrasting opinions about that painting you find very moving, while she thinks, “her nephew could do that”.

Art Lovers Amica Hidden Depths

Hidden Depths by Amica Whincop (183 x 122cm, Mixed media on canvas)

#2 ~ Jackson Pollock (1912 – 1956) is commonly considered a pioneer in Abstract Art

With his drip paintings and gigantic canvases, this American artist revolutionised the art world. His troubled life somehow helped him create work that had never been done before, leading him to quickly become a major figure in the art scene and become widely renowned for his unique artistry.

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Jackson Pollock

In 2006, Pollock’s No 5 (1948), a canvas covered in drips of brown and yellow paint, was sold by Hollywood entertainment mogul David Geffen, for the sum of US$140m dollars, making it one of the most expensive paintings in history. The National Gallery of Australia purchased Pollock’s last masterpiece, Blue Poles (No 11) for its collection in the 1970’s and its value has skyrocketed, commonly recognised as one of the gallery’s best investments.

Cloud Gazing by Robyn Leoni Abbott (29.7 x 42cm, Mixed media on paper)

#3 ~ There’s a science that studies the effects of art on our brains 

Founded just over 10 years ago by neurobiologist Semir Zeki, neuroaesthetics is an emerging discipline that attempts to bring scientific objectivity to the study of art.

A number of studies that entailed the manipulation of objects depicted in a painting and the subsequent effect on the brain, found that our minds are constantly aware of the specific arrangement of such pieces within a painting, and can sense the artist’s intention behind it. Thus, even if you think those lines and colourful squares of that Mondrian painting aren’t telling you a story, subconsciously, they really are.

Moody Blues By Amber Gittins Australian Artist

Moody Blues by Amber Gittins (61 x 76cm, Acrylic on cotton)

#4 ~ Science says it is possible to distinguish an artist from a non-artist

In a study by researcher Angelina Hawley-Dolan, a group of volunteers were presented with pairs of paintings — some being the creations of renowned abstract artists, and others the doodles of amateurs and chimps. In each trial, it was found that the general preference was inclined towards the work of real artists, leading scientists to believe the viewer can, in fact, sense and appreciate the artist’s vision in their paintings.

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Mysterious Forest by Magdalena Knight (152.4 x 61cm, Acrylic on canvas)

#5 ~ The most famous Abstract Expressionists had tragic ends

Pollock dealt with alcoholism most of his life, right until the day of his death, when he was involved in a single-car accident while drunk. Rothko, another significant figure in the abstract movement, committed suicide in his studio, after dealing for years with poor health and a failed marriage.

Thus, one could say that the troubled past of an artist can contribute to their powerful work and their fame.

Petalis sol by Tat Georgieva (101 x 101cm, Acrylic on canvas, Ready to hang)

#6 ~ It’s a great investment for your house!

Investing in original, timeless Abstract Art will give any room an extra dimension and energy. The size, the colours, the shapes, the lines and the textures of the painting, are all features that you should keep in mind when considering the art to add to your space. No matter how you decide to showcase it, it is bound to make an impression with your guests.

Letting Go

Letting Go by Libby Dyer (121.9 x 76.2cm, Mixed media on canvas)

If you’re feeling suddenly inspired and want to check out what Australian artists have to offer, head over to the shop and browse through the multitude of talented artists. Who knows, your future pièce de résistance for your living room might be waiting for you there.

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The Surrounds Ii

The Surrounds I & The Surrounds II by Kate Owen (122 x 122cm each, Acrylic on canvas)


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