Abstraction emerged more than half a century ago as a genre that had a major impact on the art world. The beauty of it comes from the lack of explanation or interpretation and has more to do with the emotional response of the viewer. Exploring the plurality and the resilience of the genre, simultaneously exquisite and solid, with the singular creative language of their work, here are ten Abstract artists we love.

Maaike Schoorel

Maaike Schoorel, De Leie, 2020. Photo courtesy of Mendes Wood DM

Although Schoorel’s paintings are infamously developed from photographs, how she interprets these are very intuitive, as are the decisions about what information to include or omit. Each brush mark and gesture is designed to expose concrete resolution; some appear as impalpable shadows or stains, while others have a slightly holographic effect. Schoorel drafts her body of work with an expert understanding of color, and uses minute shifts in tone to magnify her painting’s ambience and evoke a psychological reaction. “The colours come to you as the music comes to you” Schoorel explains. Her paintings are often initially felt before they are seen, they provoke a subconscious recognition before they are understood visually.

Mariana Oushiro

Mariana Oushiro in her studio. Photo courtesy of Art Makers Magazine

Oushiro draws inspiration from elements of the natural world, and she draws upon her impressions of the dispositions of agricultural landscapes in Brazil, the sensation of lightness in water, sacred geometries, architecture, and science. With heritage originating in Japan and Brazil, enlightens her creative frameworks, and has shaped the development of her artistic language as an extension of abstraction. Her circles, curves, and lines are the foundational core of compositions through which she seeks freedom in contact. These visual elements are not static forms but rather kinetic elements that float and surge through spatial encounters, conveying states of mind and perception that are at once highly specific and entirely ineffable.

Kenneth Noland

Kenneth Noland, Installation views, 2016. Photo courtesy of Kasmin Gallery

Noland was a primary force in the development of postwar abstract and color field painting. Although in the 1950s he was thought of as an abstract expressionist by the time it was early 1960s, he was remembered as a minimalist painter. After studying under artists like Ilya Bolotowsky and Josef Albers and working alongside fellow abstractionists like Helen Frankenthaler and Morris Louis, Noland developed a signature style based on simplified abstract forms, including targets, chevrons, and stripes. His paintings are characterized by strikingly minimalist compositions of shape and color. In this regard, Noland's art has influenced a wide range of contemporary abstractionists who continue to experiment with highly simplified forms and pure saturated color.

Joe Bradley

Joe Bradley in Elaine de Kooning House. Photo courtesy of Hype Beast

Soon after settling in New York, Bradley’s creative process shifted from landscapes to abstraction. His style was later on crystalized in a series of ‘Modular’ paintings comprised of monochromatic rectangles assembled in humanlike shapes. Despite the seemingly reductive and nonfigurative aspects of his work, Bradley's forms and symbols consistently produce a sense of familiarity. His black silhouettes of dancing figures, abstract oil compositions featuring overlapping colors and shapes, and more recent ‘Cave’ paintings, continue to evince his inherently expressionistic and simple aesthetic. Evolving in a range of styles, Bradley has also begun recently to experiment with figurative forms in sculpture.

Joe Bradley, Installation views, 2016. Photo courtesy of Gagosian

Imi Knoebel

Imi Knoebel, Installation views. Photo courtesy of Dia Art Foundation

Knoebel's art is considered to be resolutely abstract, continuing Malevich's notion of “pure perception” through the exploration of form, colour and material. Following the footsteps of artists such as Kazimir Malevich or Piet Mondrian, he continuously aims to uncover the basic material elements of art, which he locates in the simple interactions between humans and the essential conditions of our world. Often producing work in groups or series, his minimal compositions rely on a curtailed, and strict vocabulary of forms combined with a subtle and commanding use of colour, exposing the physical possibilities inherent in the most basic of materials, such as plywood, aluminium and fibreboard.

Alicia Adamerovich

Alicia Adamerovich, Installation views. Photo courtesy of the artist

Alicia Adamerovich aims to question the relationship between strength and fragility, industry and nature, static and breathing. She abstracts feelings in order to produce forms at the cross section of organic and illusory. Elements of science fiction and alienation encroach upon Adamerovich’s practice, ultimately mediated by her desires for connection and provocation. Having spent her adolescence mired in feelings of isolation and brushes with the natural world, she’s taken to exploring her own crafted environments. She plumbs her own psychological depths, weaving internal fabrics into rich biomorphic vistas.

Alicia Adamerovich, Installation views. Photo courtesy of the artist

Hans Hartung

Hans Hartung, Installation views, 2022. Photo courtesy of Perrotin, New York

Hans Hartung expressed his emotions through painting to produce abstract works of rare power and influence. Hartung’s apparent spontaneity of his distinctively bold and almost calligraphic gestural abstraction and rationalism equally informed his style, which arose out of an early interest in the relationship between aesthetics and mathematics. This year, Hartung has been honored with a spectacular retrospective at Perrotin, New York featuring his works since the 1970s on all three of their gallery floors. This presentation of works includes several paintings that were on view at the Met and archival materials from the period, allowing us a chance to travel back in time and renew our understanding of Hartung, an artist with bold work that continues to speak to our contemporary moment.

Stanley Whitney

Stanley Whitney in his studio. Photo courtesy of Gagosian

Whitney’s colorful abstract paintings masterfully portray the linear structure of the grid, imbuing it with new and unexpected cadences of color, rhythm, and space. Deriving inspiration from sources as diverse as Piet Mondrian, Giorgio Morandi, and American quilt-making, Whitney composes with blocks and bars that articulate a chromatic call-and-response in each canvas. Whitney was more interested in honing an abstract visual language, his early works incorporating patches of color surrounded by areas of empty space. At this stage in his career he was also focused on the power of gesture and immersed in the daily practice of drawing.

Stanley Whitney, Installation images. Photo courtesy of New York Times

Channatip Chanvipava

Channatip Chanvipava, 1.22, 2022. Photo courtesy of the artist

Abstraction and amplification are essential processes for the artist Channatip Chanvipava’s typically large-scale works that present snapshots of emotional or psychological states derived from past experiences. With an aim to create an immersive experience with his pieces, working to communicate the ambience of the emotions defining his subject. Chanvipava’s practice has become a means of meditation and self reflection, using the process of painting to fill the gaps in between his memories, and to revisit and learn from past episodes in his life. He uses symbolic colours and expressive forms to transpire moments of reflection, contemplation and liberation.

Channatip Chanvipava, Studio view, 2022, Photo courtesy of the artist

Oscar Murillo

Oscar Murillo, Capsule 07, 2017. Installation view, Haus der Kunst, Munich. Photo courtesy of Carlos Ishikawa

The Columbian-born, London-based artist is considered to be a pioneer of visceral contemporary abstraction. In recent years, Murillo has become globally acknowledged for the large-scale, visceral abstract paintings he makes by combining a multitude of surface elements, including canvas, plastic and pulped paper with a range of mediums including everything from oil paint to dirt from his studio floor. In addition to painting, his creative exploration includes performances, videos, installations, public artworks, and social, cultural, and aesthetic mash-ups that involve multiple media forms. Oscar Murillo is easily one of the most widely collected young artists in the world today. Since his inaugural exhibition at David Zwirner New York in 2014, some of the most influential collectors in the world have acquired his work.