Defining Your Artistic Genre

Published June 25, 2018 by Gail Daley Writer & Artist

Abstract/Non-Objective

I was always a little confused as to how certain types of art are placed into certain genres at art shows. For one thing, it seemed to be purely subjective, depending on each artist’s concept of that particular Genre and some art didn’t seem to fit into any division at all! I did find a definition on the internet: “Genre is the general classification of your image.” One of the best examples of saying nothing while seeming to say everything I’ve ever found! Most artists I know seem to classify their art first by the media used to create it and then by the subject matter. For instance, many artists will describe their work as a “watercolor landscape” or an “oil still life”. From the internet, I also got a list of what was considered genre classifications. In many cases, the definition of a Genre was very narrow. Obviously, not all images fit into the Genre categories and I found myself taking issue with the clearness of the description of some them as well so I went looking for comparisons of the definitions and sure enough, everyone has a different opinion! Like many fields, the definition of a Genre seems to depend on which expert you consult. I also found about 30 different genres described, with many of them having sub-genres.

Abstract/Non-Objective Art seemed to be images not reflecting pictorial reality as opposed to Realism, which tries to show exactly what is seen. On About.com, I found this 1“In its purest form in Western art, an abstract art is one without a recognizable subject, one which doesn’t relate to anything external or try to “look like” something. Instead, the colour and form (and often the materials and support) are the subject of the abstract painting. It’s completely non-objective or non-representational.” I also found sub-genres in abstract art as well: geometric, figurative, etc. In other words, it did seem to me that anything they couldn’t find a Genre for at art shows got stuck here. Occasionally, I found this category confused with Contemporary art at art shows, which as I later discovered was not the same thing at all! 

A truly abstract work of art is derived from an actual object or things in the real world, something found in nature that the artist has ‘abstracted’.  Abstract art can include abstractions of real-life objects such as trees or it can be non-representational. A non objectivework of art has no ties to any real world objects or things and so it is not an abstraction of anything, it is aptly named, non objective.Non-objective art is a type of abstract or non-representational art. It tends to be geometric and does not represent specific objects, people, or other subjects found in the natural world.

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