“Representational” art means art that looks like something. “Non-representational” art means art that doesn’t.
That’s a broad definition, and it includes everything from a photograph to a black blob of paint. The main thing these two categories have in common is that they’re both ways of expressing yourself: you want your creation to mean something. But there’s no clear dividing line between them. One way to think of it is that representational art tries to make an approximation of the world, while non-representational art tries to show what you feel about the world, or what the world feels like.
Non-representational art is abstract – it does not attempt to represent or imitate the appearance of any natural object or scene. Non-representational art may be geometric and patterned like a painting by Mondrian, or it may look like a photograph of smudges on a canvas like Pollock’s “Number 1, 1950,” or it may resemble a pile of rocks. In some cases, non-representational art can even look like ordinary objects: for example, an ordinary rock or piece of wood. But the purpose of the artist is to make the viewer think about his own experience with and perception of such everyday objects rather than about their usual appearance, so the artist will alter these objects in some way.
Art that represents an object or scene more realistically is called representational art. If a painting looks like a photograph, then it is considered representational although it also might be abstract. If you are looking at an early Chinese landscape painting and cannot tell whether you are looking at its right side or its left side, then the painting is considered to be more abstract than representational.
Artists who work in representational styles include realist painters, portraitists, and landscape painters who do not use photos as references but try to create their representations from
The definition of representational art is: art that represents something. A portrait of a person or a landscape is represented in the painting. This kind of art is often called figurative art or naturalistic art.
The definition of non-representational art is: art that does not represent something. Abstract art, for example, does not represent anything literal. It presents new ideas to the viewer and evokes emotion and thought.
It’s a mistake to think that non-representational art must be meaningless and random. In fact, it’s often more meaningful because the artist has to find meaning instead of copying it from an object like a landscape or portrait. Abstract expressionism, for example, uses recognizable shapes but combines them in unexpected ways to create a new image that is abstract rather than literal.
Trying to analyze how we determine whether a work of art is representational or non-representational can help us understand how we react to it at first glance and what makes abstract art appealing after repeated viewings.
Conceptual art is not an art form. It is an anti-art statement, a way of saying that art doesn’t need to be beautiful, functional or even meaningful. Non-representational art is the same thing. It’s a way of saying that an artwork doesn’t need to be about anything.
Conceptual and non-representational art are two different ways of saying the same thing: that beauty, functionality and meaning are not necessary parts of an artwork. And both conceptual and non-representational art are based on the same premise: that beauty, functionality and meaning are subjective qualities that can be ignored if one wants to.
Trying to define what art is in terms of beauty, function or meaning is like trying to define what a restaurant is in terms of food. You can say a restaurant has food or it doesn’t have food. It’s pretty much the same either way you say it.
If you think about it, this makes sense. There is no objective metric for what makes something beautiful (or functional or meaningful). The only way to determine whether something is beautiful (or functional or meaningful) is by polling people who have agreed to call themselves “experts” in some field, such as “art experts.” But if you
Non-representational art is a type of abstract art which does not attempt to realistically portray any object or image. In other words, non-representational art does not try to create a “realistic” depiction of something that exists. The colors and shapes found in non-representational work are intended to enhance the viewer’s experience of his environment and do not represent anything that can be identified from the work itself.
Non-representational art may consist of a collection of geometric shapes, random splashes of color or it may consist of a more complex composition of several colors and shapes organized into an overall design.
Non-representational art is sometimes also referred to as abstract art as well as “nonobjective” or “non-figurative” art.
A painting is representational if it looks like the thing it is representing. A painting that looks nothing like the thing it’s representing is nonrepresentational.
Most paintings are representational. When people look at a museum of painting, they first notice how accurate a picture is. If a picture doesn’t look much like what it is supposed to be a picture of, it gets noticed later, and then disliked.
A nonrepresentational painting can be a good painting provided that you are looking for something other than accurate representation. And many people enjoy looking at nonrepresentational paintings for their own sake. But if you want to express an idea about how the world really looks, nonrepresentational painting will not help you very much.
The main advantage of representational art is that you can use its techniques to say things about how the world really looks, and still make your work interesting and beautiful.
It is a fact that artists have changed the way they represent reality over the years. One reason for this is because of the increasing use of photographic images, people have become more interested in art that has nothing to do with reality. The other reason that artists have moved away from representational art is because it’s not as challenging, and therefore more boring.
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