Abstraction vs. Abstract Art - Art Terms Explained

We all know that if a piece of art isn’t realistic, it’s abstracted. But is there a difference between abstract and abstraction? One might think the two are inextricably linked - it’s reasonable to assume that abstraction leads to an abstract painting. And often times they’re used as synonyms. However, they don’t exactly hold the same meaning! While both share the departure from the representational or literal depiction of objects, scenes, figures, etc., abstraction implies that the work still has roots in the physical. Say, an abstraction of flowers or figures.  Abstract art, on the other hand, has a clean break from reality. It is non-representational, and do not depict any physical object. For example, Jackson Pollock, or Mark Rothko. Now, not everyone agrees with this. Some argue that Abstract art is a broader term that encompasses several branches of art that include both representational and nonrepresentational art. Others believe that completely abstract art doesn’t exist - even a black square is still paint, canvas, and shape.


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