Abstract art is not a story, but it encourages a person’s imagination and involvement in the piece. It also provokes a range of representational realities. The artists’ methods and techniques are entirely up to them, though there are certain commonalities across styles. Minimalism, for example, focuses on simplified shapes and forms, while Cubism presents a subject from multiple perspectives. Some abstract artists rely solely on intuition.
When you look at abstract artworks, it is important to remember that many of the paintings have vague titles. The artists want the viewer to interact with the paintings, so they are often unspecific. Even though they may appear random, every mark is made with intention. Likewise, a paint splatter may look random, but it is actually deliberate. As a viewer, you’re putting the ball in your court.
Abstraction requires layers, and they are often difficult to see. Those that don’t understand this process often try to make their paintings seem unreal. The result is a work of art that isn’t realistic. It’s important to consider the layers of the work, as the underpainting transforms as more layers are added. It’s important to remember that layers make abstract art unique.
When examining good abstract works, it’s important to remember that the artist’s skill is paramount. Good abstraction is characterized by rich textures, whether visual or tactile. Good artists use multiple layers and thick impastos, allowing the viewer’s eyes to play with the piece and explore its depths. If you can do this, you’ll be well on your way to understanding abstract art.