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While all art is abstract to some degree, during the 20th century many art movements developed that moved completely away from accurate representation of visual reality. What effects were artists trying for in their non-objective uses of shapes, colors, forms, and gestures? Some moved to geometrical forms, while others rejected external reality to focus on a subjective expressionism. We might look at artists such as Picasso who incorporate recognizable visual elements in their art, others like Diebenkorn for whom landscape informs the abstraction, or artists like Rothko whose paintings, though devoid of visual reference, nevertheless inspire spiritual feelings in many viewers. Our objective is less to get a history of this dominant art direction but to try to better understand the aesthetics and meaning of abstract art.

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