The concept behind the word Abstraction literally means to separate or be separate from something else. Hence, when we talk ‘abstraction in art,’ we are talking about an image or an idea removed from a literal interpretation. The thing in question is somehow made obtuse or rearranged in a manner that it bears little resemblance to reality.
Abstraction isn’t a style of art nor an art movement but exists in all art form to some level. One could also include photography as well, as fine art photographers sometimes use abstraction as well.
A dictionary definition of ‘Abstraction’ suggests ‘freedom from representational qualities in art’ and so ‘not representing things pictorially’. Moreover, The Tate Museum describes the term, ‘Abstraction’, as when the artist has ‘removed (abstracted) elements from an object to create a more simplified form’ or create something which ‘has no source at all in external reality’.
‘Abstraction in art’ can take gestural marks or more commonly geometric shapes or forms that possess symbolism, which have little to no relationship to an external visual reality.
The idea of ‘pure’ abstraction is completely remote to reality and is not a depiction of it, but rather an entity unto itself. To me as an artist, ‘pure’ abstraction seems more prevalent in abstract expressionism. The art here constructed does not reflect reality, but one’s emotions and so emotions could be considered an abstraction.
Abstraction in art, by some, is a moral dimension. Such abstractions represent virtues, purity, spirituality and minimalism.
My work uses ‘Pure Abstraction,’ in its essence, in that the painting resembles nothing pictorially in reality. But! This is a powerful way to access the subconscious and emotions of the viewer. I guess my first real influence, was Leonardo da Vinci, which is ironic as he was literally a realistic painter. Someone who painted in a way to directly resemble reality. However, in 1981 I turned to Jackson Pollack and the New York art school of painting. This transition was so far removed from da Vinci’s work, that I had traversed from one side of art to the other; the abstraction side.
Also see my short article on Hypnogogic Abstraction.
You may also like to read the article about me on the Art Blog about Physics and Art.