Abstract vs Representational Art (A Simple Comparison: The Difference Between Abstract Art & Representational Art, & How To Choose Between Them)

As an art enthusiast, I can attest that art is a beautiful and intricate form of expression that comes in various styles and shapes.

Among these styles, I find abstract and representational art to be the most captivating.

In this post, I invite you to join me in exploring the contrasting features of these two styles, and discover the unique advantages of owning each.

Let’s dive in!

What is Abstract Art?

As an art form, abstract art emphasizes the use of color, form, and texture to create a visual experience that’s more focused on the feelings and emotions it evokes, rather than depicting recognizable subjects from the real world.

In other words, abstract art is non-representational, and it does not seek to imitate the external world. Instead, it invites us to explore and interpret the artist’s emotions and experiences through the use of shapes, lines, colors, and textures.

One of the key characteristics of abstract art is the use of non-representational shapes, lines, and colors that do not necessarily depict anything recognizable. Geometric shapes, like circles, squares, and triangles, are often used to create balance and harmony in the composition.

Abstract art also makes use of different textures, including smooth surfaces, rough brushstrokes, and thick layers of paint, to create a multi-sensory experience.

Abstract art is often seen as an expression of the artist’s emotions and feelings, rather than a representation of the external world. By using abstract forms, artists can convey their innermost thoughts and feelings in a way that is open to interpretation.

Famous abstract artists, such as Wassily Kandinsky, Jackson Pollock, and Mark Rothko, have made significant contributions to the development of abstract art. Their works have inspired generations of artists to explore the expressive potential of non-representational forms.

What is Representational Art?

As an art form, representational art, also known as figurative art, seeks to accurately represent the physical world. When creating a representational artwork, the artist endeavors to create a visual depiction of the subject matter that’s true to life.

One of the hallmarks of representational art is the use of recognizable objects, such as people, landscapes, and still lifes, as the subject matter. Through the use of techniques such as shading, perspective, and color, the artist aims to create a lifelike representation of the subject matter.

Representational art can take on a variety of styles and techniques. While some artists create highly realistic works, others opt for a more stylized or impressionistic interpretation of the subject matter.

Famous representational artists, such as Leonardo da Vinci, Vincent van Gogh, and Edward Hopper, have made significant contributions to the development of this style of art. Their works continue to inspire artists and art enthusiasts alike.

Key Differences Between Abstract & Representational Art

It’s fascinating to explore the fundamental difference between abstract and representational art. Abstract art seeks to convey emotions, thoughts, and ideas through non-representational forms, colors, and textures, while representational art aims to create a realistic representation of the physical world.

The impact of these styles on the viewer is significant. Abstract art challenges our perceptions and invites us to engage with the work on an emotional level, while representational art offers a recognizable visual experience. Abstract art encourages us to reflect on our emotions and experiences, while representational art provides a sense of familiarity and comfort.

One of the most intriguing differences between these styles is that abstract art is open to interpretation, while representational art is more literal. When we look at an abstract piece, we may see different things based on our own experiences and perspectives. In contrast, representational art presents us with a specific subject matter to interpret.

Despite their differences, both abstract and representational art have unique strengths that can inspire and move us. Whether we’re drawn to the emotional depth of abstract art or the realistic depictions of representational art, we can appreciate both for the unique experiences they offer. After all, artists such as Wassily Kandinsky, Vincent van Gogh, Leonardo da Vinci, and Edward Hopper have made significant contributions to the development of both styles.

Benefits of Owning Abstract Art

I believe that owning artwork can add a special touch to a room, but owning abstract art can take it to the next level. Abstract art can bring a unique character and visual interest to any space, especially if the rest of the d├ęcor is more subtle.

One of the benefits of owning abstract art is the freedom it provides in terms of interpretation. Unlike representational art, abstract art doesn’t depict recognizable objects, allowing viewers to draw their own meanings and associations from the work. This creates a personal and meaningful experience when owning and displaying abstract art.

Another advantage of owning abstract art is the diversity it offers in terms of style and technique. Abstract art can range from bold and colorful to subtle and minimalist, and can be created using various mediums such as paint, ink, or mixed media. This means that there is likely an abstract artwork that will suit any taste or aesthetic preference.

Finally, abstract art can add a level of sophistication and artistic credibility to a space. Displaying a piece of abstract art can showcase your appreciation and knowledge of art, while also creating a focal point that adds visual interest to the room.

Overall, owning abstract art can enhance the beauty and personality of any space. By choosing a piece that resonates with your personal taste and style, you can create a unique and meaningful display that reflects your individuality and appreciation for the arts.

Benefits of Owning Representational Art

Representational art is a form of art that captures recognizable, real-life people, objects, or scenes. The primary benefit of owning representational art is that it adds depth to your space. When you gaze upon a representational artwork, you can be instantly transported to a specific time, place, or moment in history, evoking cherished memories and nostalgia.

Additionally, owning representational art can be a conversation starter. Since it is often based on real-life subjects, it can spark discussion and story-sharing sessions with guests, adding a layer of richness and warmth to your home.

But, the most significant benefit of owning representational art is that it can be a form of self-expression. When you pick out a representational artwork, you are choosing a piece that resonates with you on a personal level. Your art collection can, therefore, reflect your unique tastes, interests, and preferences. By displaying representational art, you can showcase your personality and individuality through your decor, adding a personal touch to your space.

Conclusion: Choosing Between Abstract & Representational Art

Choosing the right art style for your space can be a tough call. Both abstract and representational art have their unique charms, but it all depends on what you want to achieve in your space.

  • First things first, ask yourself: What is the purpose of the space? Is it your cozy abode or a professional environment? If it’s your home, think about the atmosphere you want to create. Abstract art can pump up the energy in the room, while representational art brings a warm, familiar feel.
  • Next, take into account the existing decor and color scheme. Abstract art can be a perfect way to add a pop of color and introduce bold patterns, while representational art can help you create a cohesive and harmonious look.
  • Finally, remember to trust your gut feeling. After all, it’s your space, and you should feel comfortable and happy in it. Go for the style that speaks to you the most and makes you feel the most joy.

So, whether it’s the freedom of abstract or the familiarity of representational art, your choice should reflect your personality and taste. By considering these factors, you’ll be able to choose an art style that elevates your space and speaks to your heart.