Post 1: Aesthetics Exploration – Abstract Realism

Abstract Realism

AJ Terio

Aesthetics in Design



What is Abstract Realism?

Abstract Realism is an artform that combines two contradictory aesthetics of design, abstract art and realism. Abstract art does not attempt to represent an accurate depiction of a visual reality, but instead uses colors, textures, lines, and shapes to create form and gesture effects to convey a certain emotion or rhythm. Realism in contrast aims to accurately capture detail in nature and reality to create an unembellished depiction of contemporary life. Abstract Realism is a combination of these two aesthetics that create an abstract impression of real life. 

How it began

After the invention of the camera, realism lost much of its popularity as an artform and artists began to experiment with depicting their feelings, emotions, experiences, and inner thoughts into their works. Those first works became the foundation of Expressionism and Impressionism and was the birth of the current term Abstract Realism.


Of the examples I was able to find online, most of the works implementing this aesthetic are poorly executed. My reasoning for this opinion is because in many of these works, the styles of abstract art and realistic art are really just mashed next to one another on one art board. Rather than merging the two opposing artforms, they are separated and the image feels offbeat. I was however able to find a few artists who perfectly achieve the surreal and emotional effect that truly defines what Abstract Realism encapsulates.

View from Above

View From Above
Acrylic on canvas by Hyatt Moore


Portrait of Sid

Portrait of Sid
Oil painting on canvas by Hyatt Moore


Field of Dreams 2

Field of Dreams
Oil on canvas by Hyatt Moore



Oil on canvas by Hyatt Moore


Abstract Realism

Abs Realsm
Oil on canvas by Mostafa Keyhani


The Kiss

The Kiss
Acrylic on canvas by Charla Maarschalk



This aesthetic can clearly be satisfied in a number of ways and there are many different interpretations as to how to implement abstract art techniques into the form of real elements from life. Due to its very broad definition, many different works can be considered to have this aesthetic, although very few can achieve its effect to perfection (many examples online overdo it to such a degree that the art becomes too noisy and loses rhythm). Many expressionism and impressionism works can be considered Abstract Realism. Even Van Gogh’s work can be considered to contain elements of this aesthetic. My favorite artist who performs the best in this artform would have to be Hyatt Moore: long an occasional painter, he began in earnest in 1996, first focusing on international peoples, then to full time occupation in 2004, with an ever-broadening array of subjects and approaches

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2 Comments. Leave new

  • I really like the way this is structured. The headers help guide the reader through the background, and finishing with the conclusion after going through each of the chosen works makes for a great experience. I also like that you touch on how other artists’ works could be considered abstract realism, but it could strengthen your argument to back that up with specific examples.

  • Benjamin Hyde
    January 24, 2024 3:53 pm

    This was a wonderful experience, it was almost as if I was being toured through an art exhibit. This style’s play with oil paint’s thick material to express more texture also gives me a feeling a depth in the image. Rather than being a wall with colors dragged along to make a shape, this feels more sculpted than simply drawn.


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