Abstract art is evoked from ideas derived from the experience of life elements ie, real constructs which provoke a wide variety of responses, which could be described as Semi-abstract, or geometric or completely non-objective These responses, which are resolved as works of visual art, promote a spectrum of visual ( concrete ) and/or theoretical aspects of physical or mental associations with the world which we and the artist have experienced.
A confrontation with this art is, at one and the same time, both communal and private. Because of the marked difference in the type of experience, there are many different perceptions of and responses to the works. Thus, one might say, 'pure abstract art' is only that which uses a visual language of form, shape, colour and line to make work which does not refer to the 'normal' visual understanding of the world ie, to the viewer, the 'look' (visual reality ), is not as important as the 'message' ( visual sensation ).
By the end of the 19th Century, Visual Art was freed from the restraints of the logic of perspective, and the need to reproduce an illusion of visible reality. Artists were now being influenced and driven by radical changes in Philosophy, Science and Technology, to create new kinds of art. Much of the theoretical underpinning of this 'New Art' was derived from those arguments reflected in the intellectual and social commotion of Western Cultures. The exploration of IDEAS ( a new construction of reality ), rather than representing an objective or literal view of what is 'seen', becomes a motivating force for artists; resulting in what is often described as the 'Art of Internal necessity' . Herbert Read was to write that abstract forms relate to a human psychology which was an outward expression of an inner need; a .....' metaphysical anxiety '
One does not need to understand abstract art, one only needs to accept it, as one accepts so many manifestations of human development and change in the 'modern world'. What one can attempt to do is understand how and why it has developed. Abstract art is a result of different sets of circumstances in which an artist exists; no more or less understandable than any person, living in a modern world, is forced to reshape their understandings of such a world. The forms of visual art have changed over time, as the Philosophies, Sciences and Technologies have changed. These changes are evident in the great 'Movements of Art' ie, Post Impressionism, Cubism, Futurism, Dada & Surrealism, Expressionism, Constructivism & Abstract Expressionism etc.
I think that the categorization of Abstract art in the Tate Gallery is a good guide for a start to any study of the Art of the Abstract. It lists two dominant types of abstract works; those from recognizable sources ( figures, landscape, manmade, and organic), and those from Non-representational sources ( colour, geometric, irregular forms, monochromatic & text ).
Finally, an artist central to a study of The Abstract in Painting, and who configures the complexity of the subject in such an economic way, directs you to a view with which I would wish you to approach my work....
' abstract forms are endlessly free and inexhaustibly evocative' Wassily Kandinsky