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Modern Abstract Art: It's Personal

on April 29, 2024

Modern abstract art, broadly defined, is a compelling and dynamic genre.

What has always attracted me to modern abstract art is its transgressions of traditional boundaries and its ability to stir my emotions. I'm defining "modern abstract art" broadly to include a range of styles and artists from the early 20th century onward who reject realism in favor of more expressive and non-representational forms.

modern abstract art by artist wassily kandinsky

Untitled, by Wassily Kandinsky, 1922. An early example of modern abstract art.

The evolution of abstract art over the past century persists as a permanent departure from depicting the world as it is. Instead, modern abstract art is expressions of emotions, ideas, and everything else that is unseen yet part of our human experience. And because each artist creates with a unique style, we're challenged to interpret their work on a personal level—this is what makes abstract art such an intensely individual experience.

The Uniqueness of Creating Modern Abstract Art

At its core, modern abstract art is about freedom and experimentation, especially abstract expressionism. Artists like Wassily Kandinsky, Piet Mondrian, and Jackson Pollock pioneered the abstraction movement by breaking away from conventional techniques and embracing innovative methods and materials. Kandinsky's bold use of color and form, Mondrian's precise geometric compositions, and Pollock's energetic drip paintings are examples of the diverse and unique methods used by modern abstract artists. 

Frantisek Kpuka modern abstract art artist

'Complexe,' by Frantisek Kpuka, 1912. Another early example of modern abstract art.

Another way that makes modern abstract art a personal experience is its refusal to rely on recognizable subjects. The use of color, shape, line, and texture are the genre's primary tools for communication. This abstraction allows for endless interpretations because we bring our own perspectives and emotions into the experience of consuming modern abstract art. In other words, it's the lack of a defined narrative or subject matter that forces a deeper engagement with the artwork, thus creating a personal and introspective connection.

modern abstract art juan gris artist

'Bottle of Run and Newspaper,' by Juan Gris, 193-1914. Another early example of modern abstract art.


Modern Abstract Art Today

In today's art world, modern abstract art continues to evolve as a kind of a testament to the limitless possibilities of creative expression. Contemporary artists build on the foundations laid by their predecessors and continue to push the boundaries of what abstract art can be. The genre's enduring appeal lies in its capacity to capture the essence of human experience in a way that's both universal and deeply personal.


Pete Stein
Founder, Galerie Stein

Galerie Stein will be presenting several contemporary Abstract Expressionist artists both virtually at and in our gallery in Montreal in 2024.
Contact: Pete Stein at