It may be easy to determine your favorite type of brownie, but pinpointing why you have that preference can prove tougher. It requires you to consider the aspects that make for a good brownie and weigh their levels of importance against each other. Art is no different.
Many people outside the art world feel apprehensive about non-representational and abstract art. Often people wonder “How can I tell if it’s good if I don’t know what it is?” and find it easy to dismiss the work. However, a classmate of mine once made an interesting observation- that abstract art is comforting because it can be anything. There is no fear in error because you really can’t be wrong.
If you can’t be wrong, then this leads us to the idea that in order to understand abstract art, it’s up to the viewer to think about it. Really think about it. How does it make you feel? How do the colors interact with each other? Is there a sense of movement within the shapes? Lines? Light? Does it leave you with an answer, or asking questions?
Artwork done in this style isn’t about portraying a thing in an environment. Rather, the artist is seeking to make a statement through visuals, one that is hard to explain and therefore can’t be represented through definite objects.
It’s about thoughts, and portraying “thought” is not a clear defined task. It requires work on the part of the viewer, and rather than think, people often run.
You wouldn’t start reading a mystery book and quit before the culprit is framed, so why would you dismiss a painting a before you thought about it’s mystery?