"What is this?" This is a question many artists who specialize in abstract art hear every single day. Not many people understand abstract art. They'll stare at a piece for hours and still be unable to "read" the inspiration behind it. How do you begin to explain to someone who is not willing to think creatively, what your picture, painting or carving is all about? Abstract art is not meant to look like a realistic painting. It just needs an open mind and a huge imagination in order to see what the artist had envisioned when creating that piece.
The good thing about abstract art is that it can have multiple interpretations. Everyone is allowed to look at the painting with a different perspective and allow it to take you beyond your imagination. You have the freedom to give the piece of artwork your own meaning. This personal connection is what makes abstract art so enriching to every viewer.
The painting or carving may look really messy to someone who lacks that natural understanding and appreciation of the beauty of abstract artwork. But the fact that the artwork appears to be all over the place doesn't mean that the artist lacks skill. In fact, some of the arts who specialize in abstract art have excellent drawing skills and a deep understanding of how colors work. These artists, even though they are capable of drawing more realistic portraits, choose not to. They prefer creating art that gives them the freedom to express their feelings and create a piece that is completely out of the box.
In order to better understand modern abstract art, you need to do a lot of reading on the basic history of abstract. You'll also need to answer a number of questions in order to understand the piece of art better. What does it make you feel? What thoughts come in when you look at the piece of artwork? Does the painting convey a specific kind of mood? Have an open mind when looking at a piece of abstract art. Think about these questions and the meaning will probably begin to unfold.
Sometimes reading the information that comes along with a piece of artwork can be helpful. For instance, if you visit a museum with modern abstract art, get to know what the artist's ideas were by reading the information on the wall or about the featured artist. However, be careful not to do more reading than observing. You will not truly appreciate a piece if you are stuck on what's written about it.
Most artists will love to hear the different opinions of several viewers about how they translate their artwork. So you don't have to feel like you're getting it all wrong. It's fine if you just can't read a certain piece. It may not be for you. Feel free to communicate the way a piece speaks to you even though it's quite different from other viewers. Being able to interpret a piece of abstract art is a very rewarding experience.
Stephan Schoeppler is an abstract artist living in Destin, Florida. He specializes in Modern Abstract Art and Contemporary Art. He also creates Commercial Art as well as Art by Commission. http://artbystephanos.com