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Abstract art uses a visual language of form, color and line to create a composition which may exist with a degree of independence from visual references in the world. Western art had been, from the Renaissance up to the middle of the nineteenth century, underpinned by the logic of perspective, and an attempt to reproduce an illusion of visual reality. The arts of cultures other than the Europena had become accessible and showed alternative ways of describing visual experience to the artist. By the end of the nineteenth century many artists felt a need to create a new kind of art which would encompass the fundamental changes taking place in technology, science and philosophy. The sources from whic individual artists drew their theoretical arguments were diverse, and reflected the social and intellectual preoccupations in all areas of western culture at that time.
Abstraction indicates a departure from reality in depiction of imagery in art. This departure from accurate representation can be only slight, or it can be partial, or it can be complete. Abstraction exists along a continuum. Even art that aims for versimilitude of the highest degree can be said to be abstract, at least theoretically,since perfect representation is likely to be exceedingly elusive. Artwork which takes liberties, altering for instance color and form in ways that are conspicuous, can be said to be partially abstract. Total abstraction bears no trace of any reference to anything recognizable.
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January 1st, 2013
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