Abstract and Non-Objective Art

April 28, 2024 No Comments

Because students are allowed the time to “stretch and explore”, abstraction is something that happens organically in my choice-based art studio. In other words, these budding artists have the opportunity to freely experiment with the materials and see where these explorations lead them. Students are encouraged to take risks without worrying about failure or final outcomes. These explorations and experiments often emerge into finished abstract creations.

Although abstract and non-objective artwork are sometimes thought to be the same, there is actually a distinct difference. Abstract art is tied to real-world objects or scenes but is simplified or altered to the point where the original subject is not easily recognizable. On the other hand, non-objective art does not depict anything from the physical world; it is purely about the art elements (line, shapes, etc.).

Usually when working abstractly, students do not start with a specific idea in mind. However, they often can tie their finished artwork to a specific subject, making it true “abstract” art. Other times, the finished artwork is completely “non-objective”, resulting in artwork that is about the shapes, lines, colors, textures, forms and/or values that the artist used. Regardless of how it’s classified, abstract and non-objective artwork can evoke strong emotions in both the viewer and the creator.

Folding Paint – Tempera Paint Blotto

This 4th grade Artist wanted to see what happened when paint was squirted directly onto the paper and then folded in half.

Blue Drips – Watercolors and Sharpies

This 4th grade Arist started by placing watercolors at the top of the paper, adding more water and then allowing the colors to “drip down”. Once dry, she outlined the shapes with a fine black sharpie. Although she didn’t start with a specific subject in mind, she states her finished artwork “looks like rain”.

Colors – Markers and Sharpies

The 5th grade Artist who created this non-objective artwork started with a doodle and continued adding different colors and patterns. According to the artist, she enjoyed “turning scribbles into beautiful artwork”.

A Place to Walk – Tempera Paint

According to this 3rd grade Artist this non-object artwork is about “dots, circles and other shapes”. However, the title “A place to walk” and reference to the “black rocks” in the artist statement make it could make it closer to being an abstract.

Circles with Squiggly Lines – Markers

This 5th grade Artist was inspired by a picture of circles that was hanging in the art room. According to the artist he “recreated it using different colors and a different style”.

Abstract Art Appreication Cards
Lisa Blanchette

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Welcome to my blog! I’ve been an art teacher for over 20 years and have worked with a variety of age levels. I am passionate about art, teaching and learning. I’m excited to share lessons, resources, tips and tricks that I currently use in my elementary choice-based art room. Read More