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The Neuroaesthetics of Abstract Expressionism

on May 22, 2023

The mesmerizing world of neuroaesthetics is fascinating, especially when it comes to the realm of Abstract Expressionism. Abstract Expressionism has this incredible ability to stir emotions and provoke thought, and understanding the neuroaesthetics behind it adds a whole other layer of fascination.

Abstract Expressionist artist Jackson Pollock

'Convergence' by Jackson Pollock, 1952.

When we gaze upon the bold strokes and vibrant colors of Abstract Expressionist masterpieces, our brains embark on a journey of sensory exploration. The use of form, color, and composition triggers a symphony of neural responses, engaging both our visual and emotional centers. It's like a dance between the canvas and our minds.

Studies have shown that abstract art stimulates the brain in unique ways, fostering creativity and enhancing cognitive flexibility. The open-ended nature of abstract expressionism allows for a personalized interpretation, creating a playground for our neurons to make unique connections.

Abstract Expressionist artist Willem de Kooning

'Collage' by Willem de Kooning, 1950.

Willem de Kooning, Mark Rothko, and Jackson Pollock, whose work I admire, masterfully manipulate the neuroaesthetic experience through their bold choices on the canvas. The dynamic interplay of colors and forms not only sparks visual delight but also activates regions of our brains associated with emotion and introspection.

Abstract Expressionist artist Mark Rothko

'No. 13' by Mark Rothko, 1958.

In the world of Abstract Expressionism, neuroaesthetics unveils the magic behind the brushstrokes. It's not just about what we see; it's about the intricate dialogue between the artist's creation and the neural symphony it orchestrates within us. It's a captivating exploration into the intersection of art and neuroscience, a realm where the canvas becomes a gateway to the complex wonders of the mind.


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 - Galerie Stein at