Some of the best abstract & non-representational art I’ve painstakingly scoured off of Deviantart and included in my group, the “Fine Art Asylum”.
Let’s just get out of the way the difference between “abstract” and “non-representational,” which are usually used interchangeably, including by yours truly. “Abstract” is similar to “distorted”, as in an altered version of reality (Think “Cubism”). Much of the confusion must come from the “Abstract Expressionists” who were actually “Non-representational Expressionsists,” but that didn’t sound as cool. Non-representational means it doesn’t look like a rendering of anything, at least not intentionally. A Jackson Pollock canvas is non-representational, even if Francis Bacon thought they looked like “old lace,” but you could say that Cezanne’s famous paintings of Mont Sainte-Victoire were abstracted (and they are generally regarded as leading the way towards Cubism and other abstract styles to come).
The pieces I’m showcasing in this journal are wide ranging in terms of approach and medium, but all of them are far more substantive than the mere benign “decoration” that abstract or non-representational works are sometimes consigned to. Usually I try to sneak my works in these journals somewhere near the bottom, but this time I’m going to put one front and center, because it’s a good example of “non-representational art” and also of the possibility this kind of art has to evoke all the dynamism of the real without actually depicting it.
Rorschach Experiment 01 by Eric Kuns, digitally created http://erickuns.deviantart.com/art/Rorschach-Experiment-01-297956784
I’ve discussed this work in another journal http://erickuns.deviantart.com/#/d5gnmym, so will give you the encapsulated version here. While there isn’t anything in the image that is intended to look like anything specific that exists, the self-entwining globule in the upper left evokes a consciousness. Overall it conjures an intelligence fluctuating between interior and exterior, dissolving and becoming, separation and integration, and all the while interacting with other apparent selves in a realm of flux.
And here is an animation showing several stages of the process:
Now, on to other artists’ works!
Stairway To Heaven by HelaLe (Hela Zidovnik Lesac from Croatia), painting http://helale.deviantart.com/art/Stairway-To-Heaven-293935038
Apparently, this one’s based on the Zeppelin song (“Yes, there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run there’s still time to change the road you’re on.”). There’s a lady that’s sure all that glitters is gold, but sometimes it’s paint. I don’t know the artist’s intent, other than to capture some of the ambience of the song (which I think she did), but I just find that the image has that unmistakably tangible quality of “the real”, in terms of color and texture, foreground and background, while not exactly portraying anything.
Below are thumbs of a few of her other vibrant and intriguing non-representational paintings.
Landscape n.174 p.3 by Pluto52 (Morino from Italy), painting http://pluto52.deviantart.com/art/Landscape-n-174-p-3-153013036
Definitely rich with the colors and textures of a landscape. I like this the way that sometimes if you see an artist’s palette (y’know, the kind they hold in their hand and mix their paint on), it can be as beautiful or more beautiful than the actual painting. I love the thick paint, the evident brush strokes, and the bristle trails. This has that wonderful duality of looking both like paint heaped up on a flat surface, as well as an illusionistic image in three-dimensional space.
Below are a few more of his pieces with these same qualities:
W-out 0064 ‘ Omen Solstitium ‘ by W-out (Wout Werensteijn from the Netherlands), painting http://w-out.deviantart.com/art/W-out-0064-Omen-Solstitium-309629268
This one looks to me like a slice of something, marble, or the atmosphere of Jupiter. Someone posted that it looks like, “a sea with rocks near the shore.” Whatever is suggests to you, it has motion and tumult, as if it shows an instant in a process of something evolving. The colors are what makes if for me, especially the ranges of oranges and pinks.
Below are thumbs of a few of his other non-representational pieces in the archives.
D.K. by Bernardumaine (Bernard Dumaine of France), digital painting http://bernardumaine.deviantart.com/art/D-K-320754020
Wow! I don’t have to tell you what this one looks like. I know what you’re thinking. Non-representational Dali, with some Yves Tanguy and Max Ernst mixed in. It’s classic Surrealism. This was done digitally, and while I have some ideas as to how, the technique is remarkably refined, to the point where I just assumed it was done in oils.
Below are a few other similar works by the same artist:
Powidok III by schodowski (Krzyszt of Ireland), painting http://schodowski.deviantart.com/art/Powidok-III-127578231
Powidok I by schodowski (Krzyszt of Ireland), painting http://schodowski.deviantart.com/art/powidok-I-127555369
Most Krzyszt’s pieces on DA are black and white drawings, but at some point he tackled non-representational work gorgeously. He’s got a series for 4 such pieces, which look like they were painted with a knife or other hard implement, and have some overlap with the work of Gerhard Richter. I don’t know whether I enjoy the texture of the buttery layers of paint or the naturalistic colors the most. Each of the paintings seems a bit like a tilted landscape with a boarder, as between sea and land, or land and sky.
movement3 by AFALLDEN (of Sweden), painting http://afallden.deviantart.com/art/movement3-100840744
AFALLDEN’s pieces are very different from the preceding ones. Less organic, they resemble spaces filled with inanimate objects, like things we might find in a supply warehouse. The image above conjures rooms of tubes or rubber strips piled in a heap. The one thick yellow line (looks something like a hose) differentiates itself from the rest, and a couple pieces at the edges seem to cast shadows. Overall the piece strikes me as both conceptually and aesthetically sophisticated and interesting.
The following are similar works by AFALLDEN:
Promotion by kuuramantoonis (Kira Leigh of USA), painting done with “neon acrylics, pastel gouaches, and nail polish” http://kuuramantoonis.deviantart.com/art/promotion-314531418
Kira’s work has a loose, wildness about it that I admire and would like to introduce into my own work. It’s already brave to paint with “neon’ and “nail polish”. What’s even more fascinating about this non-representational image is what the artist seeks to communicate through it. Notice the brash swirling of fluorescent green loops on a radiant pink backdrop. I’m most intrigued by the conglomeration of material just right and below the center of the canvas. I could tell the piece was brimming over with humor, irony (sarcasm even), and a kind of rebelliousness, but none of that really prepared me for the artist’s comments under the image. The piece reflects and conveys the artist’s disgust and outrage at office politics, hierarchies and patriarchy. As much as I’d love to quote her comment in it’s entirety, it might distract too much from sensibilities of the other artists I’m featuring. However, taste of these gems, and I encourage you to follow the link to read her full rant.
The only power I’m allowed to have (so far in my newly budding role) is that of a cute mom, or a cute data girl—everything relies on my ability to be neon pink and adorable so I have to be the sweetest damned cupcake in the world until I find a way to shoot razors out of my mouth that always hit the jugular.
Having spent a goodly portion of my life in offices, I love that this piece rages against office culture!
This is a piece about femininity. Its called promotion, all lower-case. I made it using Dali’s paranoiac-critical method of working, neon acrylics, pastel gouaches, and nail polish. It glitters like a cheap whore.
Who else does a non-representational painting that is a mockery of imposed ideals of femininity, and succeeds?!
Here are a couple more of Kira Leigh’s non-representational pieces (and a couple from the archives that have imagery, but would work as non-representational without the recognizable subjects). :
Superacid Lime by pbxn109 (Nicolas T. of France), Acrylic on canvas (50x50cm) http://pbxn109.deviantart.com/art/Superacid-Lime-276441329
Red used to be my favorite color, and then one day it just changed on me when I was 40. Suddenly it turned to a fresh green, and I think it was triggered by seeing wide stretches of freshly growing rice fields when I was riding a bike in Hoi An, Vietnam. I think it might have something to do with an instinctual, primordial satisfaction with a glimmering full harvest. So, you can guess where I’m going with all this: I just love the colors in this painting. As one person commented on his image “I like the feeling of topography, the suggestion of an alien landscape!” There’s definitely something of a landscape, but also of a wall or embankment showing signs of rising and lower tides, or the growth of algae or moss.
more related works by the same artist below
Alaska rye by zeruch (Joseph of USA), “acrylic paint, acrylic ink, collage on masonite and bristol, scanned and de/reconstructed digitally” http://zeruch.deviantart.com/art/alaska-rye-265509963
This one has some marvelous semi-transparent textured layers, which had to be created with his multi-staged technique that incorporated paint, collage and computer manipulation… Notice the deep reds glowing through the striated textures in the top left. The overall impression is something like looking through an old windowpane, and only seeing a few clues as to what may be contained inside. The surface itself is beautiful, and the mysterious “R” signals a kind of “Symbolism” this artist employs in his non-representational pieces. The drips bleeding to the right also add an element of time and substantiate the feeling of corrosion.
See more related works by the same artist below
Photoshopped Landfill Compactor Detail Abstract by aegiandyad (UK) Photo + Photoshop http://aegiandyad.deviantart.com/art/Photoshopped-Landfill-Compactor-Detail-Abstract-328378666
This artist has a lot of vibrantly colored works that I can’t help but click on. Frankly, that orange sphere on the green background is sublime. This is a photo tinkered with in Photoshop (I’m guessing messing with “curves” and “color balance”…), and while this would be world class if it were a painting, it’s still spectacular. The artist has to have a great eye for color to achieve these results. Only 66 people have clicked on this, so I wonder if people just don’t know what to do with this sort of art. I also like to take pictures of textures, so I can get right into it. When I take photos like these I call them “ready mades” because they look like really cool abstract paintings. None of mine came out this brilliant, however.
here are some more of the best “abstracts” by aegiandyad
Heart and Seat by OneLifeOneArt (Justin R. Christenbery of USA) Painting http://onelifeoneart.deviantart.com/art/Heart-and-Sea-173004894
And here we have mystical, visionary non-representational art. This looks a lot like those photos you might have seen taken inside the curl of a wave, but the painting isn’t that literal. It seems rather about the tumultuous nature of creation itself, which is a theme we see in several of the artist’s paintings. Apparently the photo of this painting was taken while it was “in progress,” but I like it as it is, and prefer it to the painting which got the DD. I’m particularly drawn to the dark-brown objects at the top, that could be back-lit clouds, but what I like to think of as matter hurtling through some burgeoning organic process on a massive scale.
Below are more visionary abstract/non-representational pieces by Justin R. Chistenbery
FEELING THE VOLUME by anjusha (Ana Loncar of Cfroatia) Photos http://anjusha.deviantart.com/art/FEELING-THE-VOLUME-295436382
And finally another photographer with an amazing eye for color and found compositions. In this work we have a conspicuously surrealist abstraction. If you know the art of Yves Tanguy, that’s what this image brings to mind. (If you don’t know his famous pointing, “Mama, Papa is wounded,” you can Google it to see the resemblance). This artist is very good at framing pictures in such a way that perspective is flattened, which helps create the mimicry of an abstract painting. Plus, I’m a big sucker for photos of reflections on liquids, and this one is part of a spectacular pair.
Here are some more quasi-surrealist non-representational photos