Abstractly Thinking


Abstract art is a visual representation of a conceptual subject. When at an abstract piece, we do not see a realistically depicted subject, but rather how we perceive these things in a more transcendent light. Abstract art deconstructs the familiarity by which we can see and gives us a depiction that we must interpret.

This can be a challenge for those who are more accustomed to lateral thinking and more contemporary forms of art. Looking at art with a different eye is not an easy thing to achieve ­– it forces us to look at things differently.

Eric Kandel, a neuroscientist, explained in his book “Reductionism in Art and Brain Science” that abstract art requires the beholder to problem solve. This will allow the interpretation of the visual stimuli presented in abstract art. For us to find something recognizable we would instinctively look for patterns and identifiable shapes.

When wearing abstract art, your imagination is being exercised. That’s not saying that other forms of art don’t require thinking or imagination. More conventional pieces of art have a passive narrative that is based on things the observer should already know or be able to recognize. Abstract pieces just need more effort in that department.

It is not uncommon to hear people exclaim “I could’ve done that!” after looking at an abstract piece. That is because they see it for what it literally is. Looking at abstract art, you will need to look beyond the seemingly chaotic pieces and think dynamically. After all, when listening to music, we don’t focus too closely on each individual note; we consume the whole song. Perhaps thinking of abstract art as a visual metaphor is less intimidating of a concept.

Abstract art is also a great way to develop emotional thinking and intelligence. Being able to interpret abstract concepts require you to look deeper than logical thought. Connecting conceptual ideas to emotion can help you to exploit that part of your brain.