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Types of Abstract Art explained

There are many different types of abstract art, each with its own unique characteristics. Some of the most popular types include gestural abstraction, colour field painting, minimalism, hard-edge painting, expressive abstraction, conceptual abstraction, optical abstraction and geometric abstraction.

Gestural abstract art

Is a type of art that is defined by its gestural qualities. This type of art is characterised by its use of bold and expressive brushstrokes, as well as its focus on the artist’s gesture. This type of art often communicates the artist’s emotions and intentions through their brushwork.

Jozelle Mclea - Mountains to Explore
Jozelle Mclea – Mountains to Explore

Minimalist art

Is a type of art that is characterised by its simplicity. In minimalism art, artists use basic shapes, colours, and forms to create their work. This type of art is often seen as being modern and sleek. This can make the artwork seem simple.

Color Field art

Is a type of painting that emerged in the 1940s and was influenced by Abstract Expressionism. Color Field painters were interested in creating large, flat, unbroken fields of colour.

Hard edge art

Is a type of painting that uses clean, straight lines to create hard-edged shapes. This style of painting emerged in the 1950s as a reaction to the more organic and natural forms found in Abstract Expressionism. While hard edge painting can be created with any medium, it is most commonly associated with acrylic paint and enamel. This is because these mediums allow for the creation of sharp, clean lines. Hard edge paintings are often characterised by their use of bright, primary colours.

Expressive abstract art

In expressive abstraction the artist is more concerned with communicating an emotional or psychological state than with depicting an objective reality. The painting may be abstract in form, but it will usually contain elements that suggest a subject matter – such as colour, shape, line, and texture.

Carol Bourgonje - Remember the Days
Carol Bourgonje – Remember the Days

Conceptual abstract art

Just as with other forms of abstraction, conceptual abstraction in painting is about creating a work of art that does not directly represent reality, but instead uses colour, form, and composition to achieve a particular effect. The goal is to communicate an idea or feeling rather than to depict reality. Conceptual abstraction can be used to create both representational and non-representational paintings. In a representational painting, the shapes and colours may not directly match what is seen in real life, but they are still recognisable as objects. For example, a painting of a tree might use different shades of green and brown to create an abstracted image of the tree. In a non-representational painting, the shapes and colours may be completely unrecognisable and may not resemble anything in real life.

Daddy Nsakala - Who is the Winner
Daddy Nsakala – Who is the Winner

Optical abstract art

Is a type of painting that uses optical illusions to create an abstract image. This can be done by using contrasting colours, patterns, or shapes to create an illusion of movement or depth. Optical abstraction paintings often have a hypnotic effect, as they can be difficult to look away from. The goal of optical abstraction painting is to create a painting that is not easily understood by the viewer. This type of painting often uses bright colours and geometric shapes to create a confusing image.

Geometric abstract art

Is a type of painting that uses basic geometric shapes to create an abstract image. This type of painting often relies on colour and line to create a sense of movement and rhythm.

Gavin Larkin - Ways
Gavin Larkin – Ways

Is abstract art easy to produce?

You can create an abstract painting by simply applying paint to a canvas in any way you like. There are no rules to follow and no specific skills required. So Yes, abstract art is easy to produce BUT establishing yourself as an artist that produces good and high quality abstract artworks that are unique, is extremely difficult.

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