Abstract Figurative Painting

 In Art

Art is all about expressing the artist’s feelings, and it offers several ways to say what they want to say. There are endless possibilities when it comes to painting, and it’s up to artists to decide what they want to show on their canvas.

Thanks to that, many artists developed innovative art movements and painting techniques that are often different from what others like to stick to. Abstract Figurative art is a perfect example of that.

Although many people don’t know this art form themselves, many young and older artists like what it offers and develop their art style around it. Most people know abstract and figurative art is the opposite of each other, so what is abstract figurative art? Readers can find the answer to that question in this article!

What Is Abstract Figurative Art?

Before getting to what abstract figurative art is, people first need to know what abstract and figurative art are separate. Starting with the former, abstract art consists of expressing what the artist wants to say without showing any shape people can connect to or recognize from the real world.

No one can expect to see complete human forms, animals, or objects in abstract art paintings since the whole art movement consists of not showing those things. Piet Mondrian, Vasily Kandinsky, Jackson Pollock, and Anges Martin are some examples of famous abstract artists.

Some artists, such as Pablo Picasso, don’t believe in abstract art, although they are cataloged by many as abstract artists themselves. Regardless of that, it’s not uncommon for anyone to see abstract paintings at museums or other places.

Unfortunately, many people stigmatize abstract art because they don’t understand it and say it makes no sense. Nonetheless, abstract art can make sense since it still shows the artist’s feelings but chooses to not limit itself by external boundaries that could distract the audience from the main purpose of the painting.

Figurative art is the opposite of abstract art since it shows clear and direct shapes that people can link to real-life things. A painting that, for example, shows apples, animals, human beings, or any other object is considered figurative art.

Although the word “figurative” means something is metaphorical when speaking to other people, art changes that for itself. Art-wise, “figurative” doesn’t mean something is metaphorical or not, but only that it shows things people can identify and relate to directly whether they are similar to what people see in real life or not.

Saying it doesn’t have to be similar to what people see in real life means it doesn’t need to follow life rules. Things such as a black sky, humans with several eyes, blue horses, or white apples are different from what people know it’s real, but they can still tell those are humans, horses, and apples, so it’s still figurative art.

Some figurative artists are Dudu Gerstein, Alberto Giacometti, and Peter Doig.

Knowing that abstract art is expressing feelings without showing recognizable shapes and that figurative art is doing the same while showing shapes people can link to real things, some people don’t understand what an art movement involving both could be.

In a nutshell, abstract figurative art is a mix of abstract and figurative art, and not more than that. Thus, people can find shapes that are not that noticeable but show feelings people can connect to in abstract figurative art. Yoel Benharrouche is one of the abstract figurative artists people can find nowadays.

What Is Abstract Figurative Painting?

Abstract figurative paintings are paintings in which the audience can identify shapes and real-life things they can link to real things, but that is way different from what people would see in real life and barely shows that shape at all.

Kristen Keagli’s “Valeria Feliù, The Ley’s Whitebeam Guardian Keeper” is a perfect example of what abstract figurative paintings look like since it shows a woman hiding under different flowers, shapes, and things that are not natural to human beings.

Yoel Benharrouche’s paintings also follow that style but adapt to the artist’s vision. While it’s difficult for some people to understand the difference between abstract, figurative, and abstract figurative art just by reading it, looking at the examples mentioned before helps with it.

Abstract Figurative Painting Techniques

Since abstract figurative paintings are a mix of figurative and abstract ones, they are merely a result of playing with the painting techniques used for both and making them complement each other. Therefore, abstract figurative paintings can look different depending on the painting techniques the artist wants to use.

The most important part of the matter is understanding the essence each art movement offers and the sensations they convey. Here, a blunt separation between the two is not needed since the artists understand abstract and figurative paintings are not completely disconnected but more like things that share a small link.

Therefore, abstract figurative artists can use techniques such as reconstructing shapes and using vivid colors, but also reject three-dimensional perspectives and go for non-objective art and action painting.


Understanding the different art movements in the world and studying them helps everyone connect with art paintings in a better way, and thus enjoy them more.

Not many people know abstract figurative painting, but it’s gaining more popularity each day, so people can’t help but wait for it to evolve and become even better over time.

Many artists embrace this style without knowing it, but getting to the roots of what it is could be the key to mastering it.

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