What is it about abstract art that can be so intimidating? For many it starts with the definition of Abstract art – paintings that do not depict a person, place or thing of the natural world and is followed by comments like, “I don’t get this.”  Or “My 3 year old could paint this.”  Or “I like paintings I can understand.” Abstract art by definition, “does not attempt to represent external reality, but instead, attempts to achieve its effect using colors, shapes and textures”. We enter unfamiliar territory and feel a bit uncomfortable when asked our opinions on a particular piece that does not portray its subject in a literal manner. This is the best part of abstract art! We’re given the opportunity to interpret a piece of art in whatever way we see fit. [caption id="attachment_4496" align="aligncenter" width="410"] Dancing by Jenny Gray[/caption] Because of advertising, television and internet, we are so used to being inundated with images that are specifically created to convey a message, that we expect precise, clear-cut information from our visual images. However, art doesn’t always have to be that way and it can quite often be better and more enjoyable when the subject matter and meaning aren’t hand-fed to its audience. The artist asks of his or her audience to participate in their piece. How awesome is that? Part of the appeal of abstract art is how intimate and personal it can be for the artist and the viewer as well. The audience is able tap into their feelings and take whatever they want from a piece of abstract art. Interpreting art is a visual, mental and emotional undertaking and can leave a viewer overwhelmed by all the feelings a piece of art gave them while another viewer may only see a mess of paint splatter. [caption id="attachment_4497" align="aligncenter" width="400"] When Will be Able to Relax by Bob Hunt[/caption] Which brings up an important matter. Just because you come across a piece of abstract art for sale or in an art gallery, it does not mean you have to like it. This article is to encourage interaction with abstract art, not to persuade you all to feel as if you must like or have an opinion about all abstract artwork. Many people will find themselves viewing abstract art and forcing themselves to see something in its colors or shapes. You don’t have to do that! It is quite all right not to like or feel a certain way about an abstract art piece. It does not mean you’re uncultured, I promise. Another misconception about abstract artwork is that it will look out of place anywhere other than an a contemporary space. Wrong! Abstract art can blend well with almost any design scheme and will spruce up your walls in a daring, unexpected way. [caption id="attachment_4499" align="aligncenter" width="400"] Silo by Jenny Gray[/caption]So, go forth and get up close and personal with some abstract art! Interpret, contemplate, FEEL! Hopefully, you now realize that you don’t have to be the owner of a swanky art gallery to appreciate or own abstract art. However, If you do want to dress up in trendy, expensive clothes and sip fancy wine like an art gallery owner while gazing at your new abstract art, by all means, go right on ahead!