Some of the best abstract & non-representational art I’ve painstakingly scoured off of Deviantart and included in my group, the “Fine Art Asylum”.

http://fine-art-asylum.deviantart.com/

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 Wayne, digitally

Rorschach Experiment: I’ve discussed this work in a DA journal, 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.

Some close-ups:

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).

Stairway To Heaven by HelaLe (Hela Zidovnik Lesac from Croatia), painting

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)

Landscape n.174 p.3 by Pluto52 (Morino from Italy), painting

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).

W-out 0064 ‘Omen Solstitium’ by W-out (Wout Werensteijn from the Netherlands), painting.

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.

D.K. by Bernardumaine (Bernard Dumaine of France), digital painting.

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:

      


Promotion by kuuramantoonis (Kira Leigh of USA).

Promotion by kuuramantoonis (Kira Leigh of USA), painting done with “neon acrylics, pastel gouaches, and nail polish”.

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).

Superacid Lime by pbxn109 (Nicolas T. of France), Acrylic on canvas (50x50cm).

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).

Alaska rye by zeruch (Joseph of USA), “acrylic paint, acrylic ink, collage on masonite and bristol, scanned and de/reconstructed digitally.”

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.

Photoshopped Landfill Compactor Detail Abstract by aegiandyad (UK) Photo + Photoshop.

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.

Heart and Seat by OneLifeOneArt (Justin R. Christenbery of USA) Painting.

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).

FEELING THE VOLUME by anjusha (Ana Loncar of Cfroatia) Photos.

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

      

~ Ends

 

15 replies on “Sensational Non-Representational Art

  1. Yummy. Love the edumecation on abstract vs non rep. Abstract sounds cooler and let’s face it, it’z the bestest of all the other arts…No seriously, big love for non rep. Nice collection and idea you did, nice work!

    Like

  2. Is there really such a thing as non-representational art? Emotions are real, they can be represented. Ideas are real. Energy is real. Time is real. The void is real. Consciousness is real. They can all be represented. Without a subject what does an artist have? Static? White noise? Scribbles? A blank canvas? A representation of emptiness, confusion, aimlessness or chaos is still a representation of something. Art needs a subject just as a sentence needs a noun. Without a subject it is a meaningless, self indulgence, just a “look at me” exercise.
    Painting has always (until the modern era) been inspired by our communal, visual reality, the reality in which we all exist but which exists of outside of us all. Is it perhaps a valid definition of abstract art to say that abstract art is the art which originates, not in external reality but instead in the personal mind or the emotions of the artist?
    However, my real question is, when you sat down to begin work on the piece of yours which you highlight here, had you already decided what you were going to paint or did it evolve as you worked? Did it spontaneously arise out of your subconscious, and then you realized it’s significance? Was it one level of yourself talking to another level of yourself or was it a thoughtful, preconceived, planned, contrived work? Just curious.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Onadanta:

      Hi Onadanta:

      First, thanks for reading and commenting. Second, just for your info, you are responding to a very old post, probably about 7-8 years old.

      Now, interestingly, I think I agree with all your underlying sentiments. Yes, art, if it is any good, conveys something of reality, the artist’s feelings, emotions, orientation to this or that circumstance, etc. We might call that the (non-material) substance or content of the work. Even if it is purely decorative, it might have a hint of that. Art, as they say, doesn’t exist in a vacuum.

      Here I was making a distinction between what “non-representational” and “abstract” mean in visual art, because there’s some confusion between the two terms. We use them interchangably, when they are not. So, it’s partly just a clarification of definitions. Non-representational means that the work does not attempt to mimick the appearance of the visual world, either literally (realistic images with lighting, shadows, perspetive, and so on), or in terms of subject (a line drawing of a cat, for example). Astract art keeps the subjects, but renders them in a way that does not respect the way things actually look at all. A still life by Picasso abstracted appearance, and is thus “abstract” art. But a Jackson Pollock makes no reference to the way things look, and doesn’t have any subject (as in a visual subject).

      This does not mean that a Pollock painting doesn’t have human content, or that it doesn’t grapple with the human condition. A very simple way to think about this is through music. We can say that music without lyrics is almost always non-representational (works by Debussy,m for example, were an exception). Only rarely does music try to mimic the sounds of nature or the external world. Even when there are lyrics, the literal meaning is then delivered through the medium of literature, while the musical component works in sync with it.

      So, we can just say that non-representational art doesn’t look like anything in the real world.

      The piece by me I included was done spontaneously, which is a way I usually work. I tried to sakte on the edge between representation and non-representation. It doesn’t look like anything specifically, but it has characteristics of visual reality (unlike a Pollock). Parts resemble organs, waves, fire, and so on, without being it.

      Cheers

      Like

      1. Perhaps the non-representational artist doesn’t have a subject in mind, but a painting that doesn’t look like anything real in the world could produce a form of deja vu in the person who is looking at the painting and is reminded of something or someone familiar by some detail he sees on the canvas. A subject could very well transpire in the minds of people who are looking at this form of painting even though the artist had no subject in mind.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I absolutely agree with you here, Marian. Non-representational art is like instrumental music: it can suggest all sorts of things, including subtle and complex moods, and even induce a moment of transcendence. The first time I saw a de Kooning it was just a reproduction in an art book, which my drawing teacher held up and I looked at from across the room. I think my mouth dropped. It suggested reality without depicting it.

          And when we are talking about a “subject”, the subject need not be a physical thing that one can focus on, but it can be an elusive feeling, a longing, a fleeting memory, an association, or as you aptly put it, as sense of deja vu.

          Right now, I don’t make non-representational art, because I am drawn to the challenge of depicting physical reality, but I may return to it at some point. I’d be more inclined to do this with physical mediums, like dripping and swirling enamel paint. I do think it’s a medium with extraordinary and timeless potential, just like instrumental music.

          Thanks for sharing your two cents.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. My pleasure. Thanks for the enlightening post. I learned much from it. Subjects do come to mind when I look at the images you’ve uploaded. But I think I’m more attracted to the application of all the brilliant colors than I am concerned about trying to make sense of the art. However, I find that the colors alone, apart from an underlying manifestation of forms, often suggest something real to me that might be buried in the subconscious and is associated with a feeling or experience of mine.

            Liked by 1 person

  3. I took some time (now that I have lots of it) to look at all the paintings shown in this blog on non-representational art and I love some of it for the colours and design and the emotional impact it elicited from me. Even the ones I didn’t appreciate so much gave me a little punch in the gut. Thank you for letting me look at my leisure. Much love to you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed that. I haven’t done any non-representational art in years. That post is actually very old — at least 6-8 years — and I wrote it originally as a DeviantArt post, before I even had a blog. Then I transferred it over. But for some reason it’s always getting kicked around and stays afloat. I guess people like the topic, or the art in it, or something.

      Liked by 1 person

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