10 Great Paintings: Why your brain gets a kick out of abstract art

  • Structure and shape can be the building blocks of any great work of art, however the composition does not always have to be representational. :

Our reaction to a piece of art is nothing less than deeply personal, with our feelings, tastes and opinions helping us to form our thoughts and response. The phrase “art is subjective” is often used when discussing abstract art in particular, with it being so very different from any other genre. Abstract art might seem to some difficult to engage with but whatever your thoughts on whether abstract does it for you, it definitely sparks conversation and discussion.

Abstract paintings bear no likeness to the real world, with ambiguity central to most works. In viewing this type of art it has been observed that the brain becomes noticeably active as the viewer processes and tries to work out the ‘puzzle’ in front of them. Figuring out what an abstract painting means to you is like solving a conundrum and this causes positive emotions to run through you.

The pleasures principles of viewing abstract art are born of our human nature to analyse and solve problems that are laid out before us. Abstract paintings enliven our visual senses be it through colour, composition, pattern or texture; we will all come away with something unique.

Which of these 10 great abstract works of art gets your brain going?