If you look at any influencer’s home or even visual podcasts, you start to notice a very familiar abstract print: sometimes black and white, sometimes black, white and gold, but they use the same broad brush strokes of color on a simple white canvas. You can buy them on any website or at any furniture store like Z Gallerie or West Elm to enhance your decor and bring a touch of sophistication to a drab space.
While I’m all for bringing art into the home, you can bring the same level of sophistication by buying abstract art from living artists—and no, your print was likely made in a large factory, not by an actual artist. There are plenty of Black abstract artists who do incredible work and honestly should be a part of the conversation of collecting art. Yes, I know that right now, portraiture is popular. Social media has given us an appetite to see the human form.
But don’t forget the complexity and intellectual stimulation that you can find in abstract art … the excitement of multiple lines and colors that often have no beginning or end, layers of color that create magical canvases … even simple swaths of color that move poetically on a canvas. Each piece of abstraction invites us to think about the world differently.
But what is abstract exactly? Simply, departing from literal or representational reference points. Traced to artists Hilma af Klint and Vasily Kandinsky, Kadinsky’s exhibition brought abstract art to the United States Armory Show in 1913.
Below I have listed abstract artists that would be an incredible addition to any home. They range from emerging- to mid-career with one or two master’s degrees. I would encourage you to consider talking to one of these artists, reaching out to galleries that carry their work, or getting to know other Black abstract artists in your city.
Above: Micha Darling, For the Marrow in my Bones, 2021.
Micha Darling aka Michelle Darling Henry is an abstract painter and collagist living in Los Angeles, California. Michelle studied in London and Los Angeles where she honed her love of contemporary art and design. Painting was a love early on. Textural strokes and vibrant color stories are an integral part of the abstract language Michelle translates in her collage work and paintings. Her focus is on textural dexterity married with circular motion. She sells her work to private collectors and customers in California and abroad independently.
R. A. Frederickson
Above: Mudra, R.A. Frederickson
R.A. Frederickson is an abstract painter based in New Jersey. His work features colorful swaths of color ( except for the one above 🙂 ) He appears to make affordable work that can be purchased as originals or prints.
Above: The ATM Queen by Al Johnson. 15 in. x 15 in. Mixed Media on Masonite, 2017. From the Allentown Art Museum collection.
Al Johnson is a renowned artist known for abstract paintings and his work a storyboard artists for major films. Al Johnson studied at Pratt Art Institute, the Art Students League and Albert Pale School of Commercial Arts. Profiled in Sugarcane in 2017, Mr. Johnson was encouraged to pursue art by Romare Bearden. Al’s work can be found in private collections and major institutions nationwide.
Above: Realness by Mark Bradford. Photo from the Denver Art Museum .
Mark Bradford is known for his dynamic multi-media paintings that tell the stories of life in the United States. Born in Los Angeles, where he still resides, Mr. Bradford attended the California Institute of the Arts. With an international practice, Mr. Bradford creates work beyond the canvas including film, installations and print. Notable works include Scorched Earth, about the Tulsa massacre. Mark Bradford is represented by Hauser & Wirth.