Modern Abstract Art Requires The Participation of Observers


Modern abstract art is celebrated and misunderstood. To appreciate abstract art more, it takes the observer to participate in ways that can be, and often are, emotionally satisfying.

Modern abstract art is celebrated and misunderstood. It is a symbol of artistic freedom of expression, using shapes, textures and colors that often represent emotions or other intangible elements, rather than actual physical objects. It emphasizes the symbolism of spontaneity and a subconscious meaning designed to transcend ordinary physical boundaries in ways that require interaction.

By its very nature, abstract art offers an almost limitless variety of styles and methods.

In realistic painting, for example, a tree, mountain or a person can only be seen in certain ways that reflect the physical world. Abstraction allows for an infinite possibility which is basically unlimited in the number of potential representations.

Abstract expressionism was first widely recognized in Pablo Picasso’s cronyism during the early twentieth century. Artists such as Jackson Pollock and Marcel Duchamp have been instrumental in bringing fame to abstract expressionist forms. Minimalist artists like Carl Andre use techniques that bring abstract concepts to their most basic forms.

This type of art can range from simple geometric shapes to lines without random intricately placed shapes. Color can consist of the most basic of primary shades or it can explode with hundreds of separate colors in a single piece. Some modern abstract artwork uses multiple depictions of a single entity, while others inject a mass diffusion of unique combined components.

Since modern abstract art is not meant to be a precise representation of reality, it allows an observer’s mind to interact in ways that tend to deter traditional realism. In fact, his dissociation from reality allows viewers to react in unique ways that are unclear or even relatively expected. Different types of engagement are needed to interpret the meaning which tends to be somewhat different for each individual audience.

This abstraction can allow the mind to fill in the blanks in ways that many find emotionally satisfying.

For such people, emotions go beyond what they would normally experience with direct depictions of the subject that are realistic and easily recognizable. For many people, the essence of art is a lack of definition and its ability to motivate the mind to act. This requires participation on the part of the audience.

Modern abstract art effects are created by patterns of shapes, colors, and lines removed from the original subject. In many cases, painting or sculpture is no longer meant to bear any possibility with the ideas that inspired it. It takes on one’s own life and, in fact, the work becomes a subject in itself. The joy of art lies in its ability to be an individual entity rather than a representation or reflection of others.

It can also be said that modern abstract art is a simplification of reality that can imply a much deeper complexity. The subjective nature of the art form provides a distinction between the two which is not always clear. The effect is very much dependent on the involvement of the viewer who must provide details that are deliberately omitted.