Different Types Of Abstract Art

Have you ever wondered how many types of abstract art there are? That's a question with no mathematical answer. Abstract art is of unlimited types and knows no boundaries. We could place a stone on something and call it abstract art, provided it communicates some form of message or is significant in some way for the artist.

Abstract Art Displayed In Gallery

Abstract art takes center stage in the field of art. It has revolutionized art since its inception. People love the fact that it has no objective meaning, and different people interpret it differently. It's a great conversation starter, and it's not only limited to wall paintings. Abstract art came into being in the early 1900s and has since taken over the art industry as the most common genre of art.

What Is Abstract Art?

Abstract art is a one-of-a-kind art form that knows no bounds. You can throw paint on a canvas and have abstract art. In simple words, abstract art is all about feelings and emotions and incorporates elements like shapes, lines, colors, and forms to communicate. Abstract art doesn't have a subject; unlike most common forms of art, it is non-objective.


Abstractionism is a philosophy that says that our mind uses previous experiences to create new ones. Abstractionism blows off all the realistic portrayals of the world. Wassily Kandinsky, known arguably as the father of modern Western art, made his first abstract in 1910. The rest is history.

Types Of Abstract Art

Because abstract art is subjective, it has countless types and forms. We have handpicked some of the most important ones to discuss in brief detail, along with abstract art examples.

  • Geometric Abstraction

As the name suggests, geometric abstraction uses geometric shapes in an unrealistic space to portray art in a non-representational manner. Geometric abstraction is all about the visual relationship among lines, colors, and shapes.

Example of Geometric Abstraction art

Above is an example of geometric abstraction. This was painted by Miguel Camarena, who has taken a pro-texture approach. He has input several elements into this piece of art and has showcased shapes irregularly and roughly, which perfectly portrays what he has tried to depict.

  • Color Field Painting

The color field is a type of abstract art that uses the maximum real estate of a canvas. In other words, in color field painting, the canvas consists of flat colors expanded throughout the field with minimum surface detail.

Color Field Painting Example art

In this color field, the artist has used colorful circles, which give the look of an archery board. This could mean a number of things, such as the different temporary emotions of a human or the cycle of life.

  • Abstract Expressionism

This style of abstract art consists of color combinations designed through brush strokes and drips. Abstract expressionism showcases motion in the artist's artwork through a variety of abstract styles and techniques.

Abstract Expressionism example art

This piece by Miguel Camarena is a perfect illustration of abstract expressionism. His dynamic use of colors adds a feeling of joy to an otherwise dull occasion.

  • Cubism

Cubism in abstract art is a revolutionary technique that depicts three-dimensional geometric shapes on a two-dimensional canvas. In cubism, the objects are often broken down and harmoniously placed in an abstract form.

Cubism art example

This piece depicts a woman who looks both happy and sad. The strong edges and coherent nature of the objects, among the other elements, make this a perfect example of cubism.

  • Surrealism

Surrealism is an abstract art form that is influenced by the human subconscious. The artist uses their mind's deepest thoughts and imagination to create an unreal and irrational depiction. 

Surrealism art example

This piece explores the dual facets of human nature, reflecting on both internal and external dynamics. While it may diverge from a literal representation of reality, its simplicity serves to effectively convey a meaningful message to the viewer.

  • Action Painting

Just like the name suggests, action painting is where the artist splashes the paint onto the canvas instead of carefully applying it. A lot of hand gestures or action techniques can be used to create this effect.

Action art example

Probably the most versatile amongst the other abstract forms, this piece is a perfect illustration of drip and action painting. It describes chaos or the multi-scope diversity of life.

  • Minimalism

Minimalist art is the philosophy that art shouldn't be a reflection of someone's imagination; rather, it has its reality and should be represented accordingly. In minimalism, simple shapes and objects are used with minimal color choices. It's characterized by simple geometric shapes, such as squares, rectangles, circles, and lines, as well as hard edges, blocks of color, precise lines, and limited color choices.

Minimalism art example

These pieces use the minimum possible input from the artist and make a wondrous portrayal. Both faces are made with one single swoosh of gesture, and through colorful shapes in the background, the whole image is elevated.

Surrealism Vs Abstractionism

Surrealism and abstractionism are both forms of non-objective and non-representational art. However, they both consist of distinctive art forms and features. Abstractionism is more composed of shapes, lines, forms, and colors. Gestural abstraction and color field painting fall under the abstractionism umbrella.

On the other hand, surrealism intertwines reality with the subconscious. Surrealism art just feels like a visualization from a dream. It consists of juxtapositions and unreal elements incorporated with some real elements. Most of the time, the depiction in surrealism is far from reality and is irrational. Both of these art forms take us away from the realms of reality. 

Famous Modern Abstract Art Examples

We have selected some of the best abstract art that’s ever been made.

  • Wassily Kandinsky's "Circles In A Circle" (1923)

This piece by Kandinsky is a geometric abstraction that represents cosmic harmony. 

Wassily Kandinsky's Circles In A Circle

  • Joan Mitchell's "Untitled" (1958)

One of Mitchell’s most notable works, this painting is a type of action abstract.

Joan Mitchell's Untitled

  • Carl Andre's "Equivalent VIII" (1966)

Also known as The Bricks, Equivalent VIII is a minimalist sculpture.

Carl Andre's Equivalent VIII

  • Katharine Grosse's "One Floor Up More Highly" (2011)

One Floor Up More Highly is a gigantic abstract sculpture made using styrofoam.

Katharine Grosse's One Floor Up More Highly

  • Pablo Picasso's "Nude, Green Leaves and Bust" (1932)

Featuring Pablo Picasso’s mistress, Nude, Green Leaves, and Bust is an oil on canvas abstract painting.

Pablo Picasso's Nude, Green Leaves and Bust

  • Miguel Camarena’s Vertical Colored Pots

With a sold-out original painting, Vertical Colored Pots by Miguel Camarena is also available in print-on-canvas form. 

Miguel Camarena’s Vertical Colored Pots

Abstract Art Composition Methods

Abstract art is categorized by how the artist wants to depict their imagination. There are no limits to abstract art. 

  • Gesture and Brushwork

Artists use a variety of hand gestures and brushwork motions to compose abstract art. These could be applying the paint to the canvas with bare hands, using a sponge, or any other object. The artist might also use a combination of techniques to achieve the final product they want.

  • Layering and Texture

Just like in the more orthodox forms of painting, the artist layers paint on top of each other to create styles and effects. Unorthodox techniques such as throwing and moving fabric, sand, beads, or gravel onto the canvas can create artistic visualizations.

  • Drip-and-Pour Techniques

Like in action painting, this abstract composition technique is all about splashing, dripping, and smearing the paint onto the canvas. The painting can only be about splashes on the canvas or about splashes combined with other abstract elements.

  • Collage and Mixed Media

In this composition technique, more than one art medium or material is used. It is a mixture of multiple objects intertwined together or multiple abstract art pieces artistically placed on one canvas.

  • Masking and Stenciling

A stencil is a special object used in painting that has a unique design or a cutout on top of it. A mask is a piece that’s cut out and can be used on canvas. Both of these elements are used to create artistic visualizations that, without them, would be challenging to achieve otherwise.

  •  Sgraffito

Sgraffito is the Italian word for scratch. In this technique, parts of the art medium are cut out or scraped, giving a different colored ground. The surface could be clay or plaster, and the scraping material could be a pottery carving tool.

Sgraffito art example

  • Wet-on-Wet or Wet-on-Dry

Wet-on-wet means that wet paint is applied to a wet surface, and wet-on-dry means that the paint is wet and the canvas is dry. Popular in all forms and genres of painting, these are both the most basic forms of art composition


Abstract art is a genre unlike any other. It has widened the spectrum of art composition to a whole new level. Artists depict their wildest imaginations through abstractionism. Being a relatively newer genre of painting, abstract art is one of the best art additions to your space because it can communicate differently to different people.


What makes good abstract art?

A good abstract art piece would convey thoughts and emotions in a harmonious and balanced way. The artist can use simple or minimalist techniques to do that, but the important factor for good abstract art is that the message is conveyed.

Why did abstract art start?

In the latter stages of the 19th century, there was an increasing need among artists to create something different. The idea was to depict human emotions and thoughts rather than just portraying something similar to how it looks in real life.

What is the subject of abstract art?

Abstract art doesn’t have a particular subject because the artist is not trying to imitate something. Rather, their work is non-objective and plays only with shapes, forms, and colors.

What are the main elements of abstract art?

The fundamental elements of abstract art include line, shape, form, color, texture, and value. Moreover, some rules of abstract art include balance, unity, rhythm, harmony, contrast, and movement.

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