Do you know that a lot of people treat abstract and modern art as the same word? In fact, they are not the same and each art form has its own special characteristics and history. Today Shantala Palat, who is a Delhi based new generation contemporary artist, shares some interesting differences between abstract and modern art.
Shantala says that Abstract Expressionism movement began in the 1940s in the heart of the New York City. However, the first abstract art painting was made as early as the 1900s. Wassily Kandinsky was one of the original Abstract Expressionists. Abstract Art is a style of art where a realistic subject is reduced or abstracted to its basic structure or form. Below are the illustrations of a wonderful series of Picasso prints where the artist gradually reduces a realistic drawing of a bull to its bare essentials. The final drawing is a simple, almost childlike line that resembles that of the bull.
However, over the years, the term “abstraction” has expanded vastly and now it includes reducing the three dimensional forms to flat areas of colour and eliminating the non-essential details from the image. Other experiments include showing objects from multiple points of views as well. Abstract Art movement continues to be called Abstract Expressionism as although art has no realistic tangible subjects as the main theme, art is conveyed through expressions in an abstract form such as colour, lines or shapes.
On the other hand, Contemporary art refers to a wide range of mediums through which the present day artists reflect and comment on issues that impact the modern society- be it culture, technology, social norms or the times that they live in. They also may question the traditional ideas of how art is defined, what constitutes art and how art is made while creating a dialogue with- and in some cases rejecting- the styles and movements that came before them. As a result, when the viewer or art lover visit these works, they would be considering whether the art is “challenging” or “interesting” and not just simply, “ Is this work of art good?” or “ Is the work aesthetically pleasing?” Contemporary art is much more than that. It encourages the viewer to think and reflect deeper about the issues that preoccupy the 21st century society.