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How our brain reacts when exposed to Abstract Art?

Neuroscience has always recommended humans to spend more time with abstract paintings.

But why?

How come a piece of painting that doesn’t resemble anything relatable to real-life is so engrossing for some people? And what exactly does the ambiguity and obscurity of abstract art has to do with creativity?

Take a look at famous abstract paintings and you would notice that the complex visuals are actually classified in terms of patterns, colors, lights, lines, dots, etc.

When we see a figurative or any art piece with real-life objects our brain receives this clear visual information that is easily relatable to the elements we have seen.

For instance, the representations of a house, landscape, trees, mountains, flora fauna, person, boat, wheel, etc are easily grasped by our brain.

However, in case we observe an abstract art painting, our brain responds extremely differently:

Brain and Abstract Art

The world of art is all about the expression of emotions.

In the beginning, artists used to imitate surroundings, events, and people to express their feelings.

Slowly and steadily, art was freed from the chains of conventions and standards.

With the advent of abstraction, artists were now allowed to experiment new ways and techniques that can ensure a dazzling artwork as the end result.

But people weren’t so accepting vis-à-vis the abstract art.

The famous abstract paintings you are observing today weren’t this famous when they were created.

Do you think when Jackson Pollock created the first artwork using the drip painting technique, he was praised?

People are always not-so-comfortable with drastic changes. They panic. The same thing happened with abstract artworks too.

When we look at an abstract painting it taunts our brain and eyes to find the meaning of the image, which is centrally distinguishable from visuals our brain has evolved to recall.

Take a good look at famous artworks of Pollock or Rothko – you will notice that it becomes practically impossible to identify objects and shapes that are relatable.

In simpler terms, we fail to classify or tag the objects in abstract art because it seems not logical to our mind.

This is what made people of the past and even present to defy the essence of abstract paintings.

The rejection of famous abstract paintings makes perfect sense as human brains are optimized to interpret visuals that easily identifiable.

This is what made humans survive for thousands and thousands of years – our ability to find the difference between a kitten and a lion.

However, the real question is whether this kind of experience is good for us or not?

The Abstract Experience

Apparently, when we are exposed to abstract art, the strange feeling our brain experiences is somewhat fruitful for us.

When we see an abstract painting, our brain is challenged to make something out of nothing.

Means – our brain has to interpret an artwork that doesn’t hold any identifiable element, which excites the much-advanced areas of our mind responsible for creativity and imaginativeness.

So, abstract experience not just stimulates our creative flair but also helps us to look at things in a different way, make us more tolerant to the uncomfortable situations, and allow us to imagine things no ordinary human can.

I mean that’s the reason that so many liberal, open-minded people, and creative geniuses are fans of abstraction.

Even the greatest of rulers, Kings, Presidents, and Leaders have always adored art, especially the abstract one.

This is so because abstract art allows us to think out-of-the-box and see one situation or person or issue from varied angles or perspectives.

What is so captivating about these paintings though?

Actually, if you look closely at famous abstract paintings you will notice that the unstructured motifs, the distorted compositions, the uncanny patterns, the loose strokes of the brush, and so forth are all summed down to a few basic elements like color, line, texture, light, etc.

The Baffling nature of Abstraction

Generally, art lovers tend to seek a number of elements in an artwork.

Abstract art, on the other hand, has minimum elements, in layman language, fewer visuals to focus at.

This is so because it is considered that the lesser we have to look in an abstract painting, the more is there to focus at.

Abstraction has the tendency to evoke emotions out of the smallest details and the slightest difference.

A small spot or a gap in the intense color composition or a distorted wave in a straight line or anything that looks confusing or surprising holds a deeper meaning in itself.

Another exceptional example would be famous abstract paintings from JMW Turner, the artist who introduced impressionism.

If you would look at Turner’s creations you will understand that he wasn’t incapable or unwilling to make clear landscapes instead, he was more interested in representing the light and the atmosphere.

The technique is just another medium to arrive at the emotions – this is what abstraction always refers to.

Our brain is challenged but also embraced by abstract art.

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At least it seems to me that each person will have their own specific reaction to this kind of art
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famous abstract paintings, famous abstract paintings, abstract paintings, abstract paintings, abstract art, abstract art, abstract artists, abstract artists,

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