Recognising harmony: the case for semi-abstract art.

Not interested in Abstract art? You might be and just not know it. Perhaps there are elements of it you like but you still want to recognise a figure or object in the painting; that's where semi-abstract comes in. 

Not interested in Abstract art? You might be and just not know it. Perhaps there are elements of it you like but you still want to recognise a figure or object in the painting; that's where semi-abstract comes in.

Today we’re discussing the differences between representational and non-representational art; where abstract falls between them and the beauty of the work that incorporates elements of both figurative and abstract art. 

What’s abstract and what's not? It's a misleading term, the majority of art is an abstraction, even the most realistic and accurate works are imperfect renderings of our three dimensional reality. Despite it meaning different things to different people, many see abstract work, no matter how abstracted from reality it may be, as rooted in a representation of something that exists in reality. What makes it abstract is the artist’s deliberate detachment from a realistic or recognisable depiction. 

Figurative or representational art is intended to portray a figure, object or scene in a level of accuracy and detail that allows the viewer to recognise it, thus eliminating the need for base emotional interpretation, and introducing themes that often include politics or religion.
This can evoke emotion and make bold statements through the depiction of classical, biblical or everyday scenes and objects. 

Non-representational work however is a visual manifestation of something that exists outside of our tangible reality, a drawing of anger for example. Non-representational art allows for a huge level of interpretation from the viewer, as the artist is relying on form, shape and color to evoke and trigger base emotions. 

Obviously, it’s not as black and white as this. So why the huge differentiation between works that are ‘abstract’ and those that aren’t? Abstract and Figurative are often presented as opposites, and sometimes they are, take Piet Mondrian and Chuck Close for example.
However, many pieces of art include elements of both and many artists transcend the divide of these genres, we think there’s magic to be found in this beautiful grey area.

The works of Noelle Phares and Mark Demsteader are undoubtedly representational but include elements of the abstract, highlighting this perfectly. The resplendent landscapes of Phares abstracted on a 2 dimensional plane disrupted by geometric mountains in ‘Wolf’ and a desert scape pierced by calculated lines in 'Soloist’ is reminiscent of one of Agnes Martin’s grids.
Demsteader’s work, firmly rooted in the figurative, utilises elements of free expressionism; subtle and scratched details in the bottom right of ‘Underworld Series Study 6’ and the furious and lurid abstraction of the ghostly figure’s dress in ‘Red Autumn Lake’ reminds us of Cy Twombly and Franz Kline respectively.

If you’re in the market for a new piece of art, don't be intimidated by the abstract work you’ve seen in galleries or museums. Something more recognisable or picturesque that includes abstract elements could be just the thing you're looking for.

Book a consultation today and speak to an expert who can guide you to the perfect semi-abstract piece for you.