I had always thought art was about the personalization of one's perspective of physical reality, a filter through which we can observe the material world in ways may or may not match ours. When I watched a short surrealist film, "Destino," (Dalí, Hench, & Ernst, 2003), however, I realized that there is another side of art, one that is unmaterialistic: it has absolutely nothing to do with replicating the physical world and has most – if not everything – to do with the non-physical. The clear portrayal, the beautiful expression of the inner worlds of feelings and emotions, of the mysterious and ever-changing realm of dreams gave me such refreshment, fascination and inspiration that I'd like to present in this writing my findings about that unmaterialistic side of art and its contribution to the modern world, through the examples of two prominent art movements: Surrealism and Abstract Expressionism.
First, I will introduce and explain the two types of art styles that I have personally categorized, the materialistic and the unmaterialistic, along with analyzing their characteristics and differences. I will then discuss the contribution unmaterialistic art gave to the modern world. As mentioned, for me, art styles fall into two main categories. The first, the materialistic, composes of those that concern mainly with material aspects of the artwork, e.g. the characteristics of the lines, the colors, and how things are observed and represented. Styles of this category differentiate from one another by different approaches to represent the visible world, which can be seen from the following examples. .
The work on the left, Violin and Candlestick (Braque, 1910), is a typical Cubist work. As we can see, the violin and candlestick were observed in multiple viewpoints, then painted onto one mutual plane that was the canvas. The result of such separation of the subjects in space by perspectives and their reunion in one final form was the creation of a distinct, unique Cubist style.