I believe there are three major factors that contribute to why people like (or dislike) abstract art: personal taste, interpretation, and emotional resonance.
Of the three, I’d say the biggest determining factor is personal taste.
Using my own experience as an example, I’ve had both close friends and family dislike my artwork (grateful for their honesty, of course), and at the same time, complete strangers give
me money for it (usually a good indication they like it).
Honestly, whether a person likes abstract art or not, would come down to the same argument for movies or music or games:
Maybe you like country for its down-home feel, but detest hip hop for its in-your-face crudeness. Or you could prefer jazz over rock, documentaries over action movies, board games over electronic ones, etc…
Either way, you wouldn’t be wrong in your tastes – that’s just your taste.
For me, I like abstract art because many times, when I look at it, I tend to trace the lines or the motions with my eyes, imagining what each brush stroke or movement look liked in order to create whatever it is that I’m looking at.
Another reason people like abstract art, is because it leaves a lot of room for interpretation, whereas a more realistic painting of a portrait or a landscape may not.
For example: As great as the Mona Lisa may be, there isn’t a whole lot going on in the painting. It’s a girl. Sitting down. And staring. Woah. Ex-cit-ing.
But when you stare at a colossal painting like a Mark Rothko or a Jackson Pollock, you can’t help but wonder what drove these artists to create such pieces. Why those colors or methods?
And is there really something going on behind the scenes? Or is it just a bunch of drips or a large square, that the artist is trying to pass off as something important?
I’m not saying that one type of painting is better than another, simply that abstract leaves room for interpretation, whilst many other realist styles do not.
Not gonna lie – I love when people look at paintings I’ve done, and they tell me what they see in those paintings. It forces them to look deeper than just the surface of strokes.
Finally, a big reason why people love abstract art, is because it makes them feel a certain way.
Maybe a painting or a sculpture piece makes a person feel calm or comforted. Maybe it makes them feel nostalgic. Or powerful. Or confident.
It could be the combination of the colors or the flow of the piece or what it’s supposed to represent.
Or maybe they just like the piece, but have no idea why.
This has happened to me. I find myself draw to the same pieces over and over again, and when asked why I like them – I can’t even say why. It’s not a cop out, it’s just the truth.
Again, let me reiterate – to me, abstract is not better or worse than other forms of art. Yes, I will agree that it tends to be quicker to produce from a time perspective, but it still bears great significance in the theme of exploration of new methods and materials.
But my question to you is this: Do you like abstract art? Why or why not? Let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear your thoughts.