11th May – 5th June 2021
5/F, United Centre, 95 Queensway, Admiralty, Hong Kong
The Russian artist Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944) is often regarded as the pioneer of abstract art, but arguably the roots of abstraction go back much earlier. J.M.W.Turner became known as 'the painter of
light', because of his increasing interest in brilliant colours in his landscapes and seascapes. In the late 19th century, Claude Monet used colour and light to capture the essence of a scene. His “Impression, Sunrise”, after which the Impressionist movement was named, broke away from traditional landscape painting.
The early 20th century saw a revolution in the art world in which artists moved even further away from representational art. Instead of creating an accurate depiction of a visual reality, they used shapes, colours,
forms and gestural marks to achieve its effect. A number of artists practised varying degrees of abstraction, for example, the Fauvism of Henri Matisse, and the Cubism of Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso. These movements were a precursor to later totally abstract art movements such as Orphism, Optical Art and most prominently, Abstract Expressionism. By mid-century, Mark Rothko was creating colour field paintings, detached from the material world, offering another way of seeing the national environment.
Artists in the 21st century continue to push boundaries, exploring different media and means of personal expression. Whether totally abstract or a merging of the figurative and abstract, the best works are a true expression of the artist’s thoughts and emotions.