Although pure abstracted artworks are less common than they once were, there are many artists that take elements of abstraction.
Emerging in the 20th century, artists like Kandinsky, Mondrian and Malevich popularised abstraction throughout the 1920s. The move away from figurative painting was radical and laid the foundation for future movements, most notably abstract expressionism. Garnering an international reputation as an elitist movement, the end of abstract expressionism saw a concerted move towards figurative painting and appropriating pre-existing imagery in contemporary art, especially with the rise of the pop art movement. However, there has been a resurgence in abstraction with modern artists incorporating the style into popular genres. From urban art to graffiti, we explore art that is bringing abstraction into the 21st century.
Known for his sculptures, prints and world-renowned luxury collaborations, KAWS’ current practice embraces street culture whilst also adopting recognisable visual language from popular television shows. Taking influence from a number of intersecting genres, the artist often abstracts familiar visual elements, creating a dream-like reality where abstracted shapes have new meaning. By isolating and reassembling the identifiable elements in a new way, KAWS merges the worlds of abstraction with urban art, making abstract art more relevant than ever.
Citing abstract expressionism as an inspiration, Harland Miller is known for his witty reimagining of Penguin Book covers. Launching as an author and then pursuing a career as a writer, Miller is considered something of a polymath. Marrying a plethora of style and genres, Miller’s paintings are as colourful as they are humorous. Pairing abstraction with a specific and often amusing message, the artist’s paintings comment upon the fragility of the human condition through words and the emotive possibilities of abstract art.