Non representational art is the most misunderstood of all forms of art. The average person thinks of it as a category that includes a few artists who are considered obscure and bizarre, and nothing more.
This reputation is not deserved. Non representational art is a style that has achieved great success in many cultures throughout history. It’s just that this success hasn’t always been recorded in the conventional art history books.
There are many types of art that are non representational. That is, they do not try to accurately represent the natural world. These include abstract art, surrealism, Dadaism, and conceptual art.
Many people think that non representational art is something new that has only recently been developed but this is not true. Art has always explored the boundaries of what is possible with the medium in which it exists. This exploration has led to many types of non representational art through out the history of Western Art.
One of the earliest examples of non representational art dates back to Ancient Egypt during its Early Dynastic Period (c. 3150-2613 B.C.) when potters began to make figurines that were simply abstract shapes and were not meant to be interpreted as anything or anyone in particular.
The development of non representational art continued with the Greeks and Romans who made sculptures in the round which were often abstracted human figures or animals in order to express a particular emotion or attitude. They did not try to make them appear realistic as they did not want their viewers to mistake them for statues of actual people or animals.
Due to changes in artistic expression, during the early Renaissance period (c. 14th century), artists began producing paintings with
Not long ago, non representational art was the cutting edge. Now it’s old hat, and representational art is edgy. This pattern-reversal happens over and over. It happened with Impressionism and academic art, with Cubism and Fauvism, with Pop Art and Minimalism.
Thing is, as soon as you have a movement that makes a splash, whether progressive or reactionary, with enough energy behind it to clear away the previous generation’s detritus, people start thinking they’ve found The Answer—even though the new movement can be understood only in relation to the one it is replacing. And once the new generation gets a foothold in the mainstream, the followers of the previous generation are almost by definition not going to like it much.
Why am I telling you? Because I’m trying to put contemporary critiques of non representational art into historical perspective. As I hope my brief history shows, these complaints come up again and again—and always prove premature.
Non-representational art is art that does not represent something, usually a physical object. It is also known as abstract art.
Non-representational art is often used to describe paintings or sculptures that do not depict any recognizable objects or figures. The style is sometimes referred to as avant-garde or abstract art, although these terms can also be used to describe other types of art.
The term “non-representational” was coined in the 1920s by the American art critic Arthur Danto. It describes a form of abstract art that has no subject matter and does not attempt to represent anything existing in the natural world. Early examples of non-representational work include Wassily Kandinsky’s painting “Circles”, František Kupka’s “Pure Ornament”, and Paul Klee’s “Sierpinski Triangle”.
Trying to define what non-representational art is can be difficult, because it can take many forms. Artists who create non-representational work have taken many different approaches over the years. Some have attempted to define it in contrast with representational art while others have tried to establish common ground between the two styles.
Nonrepresentational art is a kind of art that does not try to depict objects. Some nonrepresentational art does not even try to be beautiful.
For example, some nonrepresentational paintings are made by splattering paint onto a canvas. The artist is deliberately trying to make an ugly painting.
Some nonrepresentational artists do not like the idea of beauty in art at all, and want their work to express meaning without being beautiful.
The most famous example of this is probably Marcel Duchamp’s “Fountain” (1917). It was a porcelain urinal signed “R. Mutt.” Duchamp put it in an art show called “The International Exhibition of Modern Art,” where it was seen by many thousands of people.
But it was not beautiful. It was meant to be funny, and also to make people think about what art is. (Marcel Duchamp made many other works like that.)
Other nonrepresentational artists do not care about humor or ideas either, but just want to make something that looks interesting and new.
Non-representational art is art that does not represent (or copy) any external reality.
What qualifies as art is a contentious issue. In this essay, I will use the term to refer to art that has been accepted into the canon of Western Art.
I’m defining non-representational art in this way because people have trouble differentiating between non-representational art and other forms of modern or contemporary art. The problem is that it’s not obvious what distinguishes non-representational from representational art. Some believe that copying from nature is essential to representational art, and therefore anything without this is non-representational. Others believe that it’s the “style” or form and not the content that defines whether something is representational or non-representational. Yet others argue that since so much of what passes for representational art today isn’t actually copying from nature, then there’s no reason non-representation can’t also be abstract.
There are two problems with these definitions. First, they are circular: they define a category by pointing to examples of it, rather than giving a clear description of what makes something belong to the group. Second, they don’t exclude anything: just because a lot of abstracts are accepted as representational doesn
Non-representational art is a style of art in which the artist creates a composition which is abstract or unrepresentational, in that it does not depict anything from the real world, including social, cultural, religious or political themes. Some non-representational artists have created their own terms to describe their work, such as Michelangelo Pistoletto’s “magic realism” and “super realism.”
The term abstract art was first used in the late 19th century to describe the works of certain Post-Impressionist painters such as Paul Gauguin, Georges Seurat, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and others. The movement grew out of Cubism in Paris and Organicism in Chicago.
Towards the end of the 20th century there was a revival of interest in non-representational art. This may have been due to the advent of postmodernism but it may also be linked to changes in society and the media. In any case many contemporary artists continue to produce non-representational works.