Why does abstract art even exist? Who started it? Does it serve a purpose?
I see abstract art as having greater freedom and more passion. Today, the term “abstract art” is used quite differently than it was originally. Quite literally, abstract art refers to “abstraction” from reality, or “to carefully depict a certain aspect of the subject not readily apparent otherwise.” Today we refer to any non-figurative or non-representational art as being abstract and some fail to realize that even Impressionism is really abstract by the purest definition.
Now, to dispel another poor assumption, good abstract art should never be confused with substandard or sloppy painting, as many people have so commonly believed. Of course, artists can and do indeed paint bad abstracts, just as they can and do create bad photo-realism works. But, really good abstracts can be considerably difficult to create.
Abstract art does cover a rather wide gamut of styles and objectives. It can be either totally non-representational, where one has to completely invent the image, or abstracted from nature in such a way where one has to be keenly creative. It can be very challenging.
Abstract art can be understood and really should be embraced by everyone, because just like in music, such profound and exciting new images can be created beyond what we physically experience in nature. Why miss out? How boring the world of art would be if we faithfully painted only what we see.
So, back to the original question; “Why abstract?” Well, to the extent that art is not abstract, it is to that extent that it fails to be art. Being abstract is the very reason art is considered art.