Our top pick of abstract artists in 2023

I have often heard abstract art dismissed as nonsense, deliberately obscure and ‘so easy a child could do it’. Anyone saying this reveals they have no serious experience making or understanding art, however, as their views assume that the purpose of art is to reproduce the world clearly for the viewer.

This would be a very narrow purpose, however, and one which would have left painting, sculpture, and other media completely redundant with the invention of the camera.

Abstract art shows a curious desire to unpick and investigate the very meaning of creativity, the construction of each subject, and the effects colour, line, and light may have on each viewer’s perception.

Working in the contemporary art market, we are already seeing a renewed interest in abstract painters, digital art and expressive portraiture. In this list, we are sharing the top abstract artists working in the UK today.

With innovative experiments in colour and form, the artists we cover here are creating excitement and inspiration in contemporary art circles.



What is Abstract Art?

The Tate glossary of art terms defines abstract art as that which “does not attempt to represent an accurate depiction of a visual reality but instead use shapes, colours, forms and gestural marks to achieve its effect”1. So, what abstract art means is: art which ‘abstracts’ or separates the subject matter from its realistic expression.

Contemporary abstract art is a genre with many branches, rooted in the Modernist movement of the twentieth century. In reaction to the conservative values of realism, modernists created fine art, music, prose and poetry which they argued depicted life as it is experienced, not merely a visual representation but a psychic and emotional one.

Modernists often focussed on progress, utopianism and idealism, visualising social ideals and finding ways to express the rush and whirl of technologies such as engines and aeroplanes.

In the early 1900s, modernist movements such as Cubism and Futurism emerged from modernist art, and their advocates valued minimalism, abstraction and changing perspective.

Influenced by these movements, ‘pure’ abstract art was pioneered by avant-garde artists such as Piet Mondrian and Kazimir Malevich from 1910 onwards, creating striking compositions from simple combinations of colour and line.

However, abstract art is not limited to this narrow field and includes compositions which have their origin in visual reality, though the shapes and structures of the subject may be simplified.

Contemporary Abstract Artists in 2023

Contemporary art which can be called abstract is not hard to find, but how do you identify quality abstract art? When we share our collection, we ask our visitors to judge pieces based on the effect they produce when looked at over time.

Pause for a moment and allow the composition to guide your eye, the colours to influence your understanding, and drink in the details and choices the artist has made.

Here we share the work of some contemporary abstract artists that everyone should hear about.

Katy Jade Dobson

Passionflowers, hummingbirds and jellyfish? Katy Jade Dobson’s richly textured ethereal oil paintings position detailed natural imagery within swirling clouds of rich, bright colour.

Katy Jade Dobson’s artwork is a celebration of wildlife and the ecosystems in which so many find beauty.

Mixing surrealism and nature painting, these pieces mix different scales to juxtapose delicate flowers and large animals, which seem to leap out from behind a leaf or step lightly between fruits on branches.

Some collections see pieces that focus on single animals, such as in Lion 2019, rendered in a whole palette of rainbow-bright shades and a striking mixture of textures. Truly an abstract artist to admire, Katy Jade Dobson has original abstract artwork available through EFA Gallery.

Dobson’s abstract artwork mixes creatures of differing scales in a passionate collage of colourful clouds. Her style developed from a fascination with the work of French symbolist artist, Odilon Redon, whose use of pastel colours and fantastical imagined figures is reflected in her dreamlike compositions.

Susan Wooler

Susan Wooler’s ambiguous landscapes and seascapes capture the imagination with their shadowy edges, textured skies and bold colours.

These acrylic paintings are highly textured and beautifully varied in colour, stimulating the senses of sight and touch to enhance the overall effect.

The softness of the light and the bright colours create a striking contrast that leads to a delicate balance of distance and abstraction.

Wooler takes inspiration from the beaches and skies of the Welsh coastline, recreating the calm and variation of the views in her paintings.

Alyson Howard

Another artist blending bright colours into ephemeral shapes is Alyson Howard, whose abstract oil paintings capture a sense of natural light in flux.

Howard often uses bright colours, metallic paints and floral shapes to create richly textured paintings.

Inspired by everything from the sea to Indian cultures, Howard has experimented with subconscious approaches to painting and exploratory journeys through sound.

Monica Vincent

A self-taught 3D and digital abstract artist, Monica Vincent creates brilliant art from pop culture references, street art, tattoo-style drawings and memento mori.

Vincent uses digital layering techniques to play with shape and texture, reflection and distance to produce striking and comic images from what once seemed ordinary.

A lego figure covered in tattoos, a Mickey Mouse-shaped nebula and a ram’s skull decorated with floral still life are a few examples.

She is inspired by tattoo art and ink culture, film and her hometown of Brighton. Her art has a recognisable flavour: dreamlike, familiar and comic at once.

Kerry Darlington

A painter fueled by fantasy, Kerry Darlington creates vivid dreamlike scenes full of light, detail and pattern.

Darlington works in three dimensions, with shaped canvases and raised details to create a completely unique style based on myth and storytelling.

These spellbinding mixed-media pieces often use resin and metallics, accumulating layers to create a translucent texture filled with light.

Kerry Darlington has been inspired since childhood by illustrations in old picture books, such as those by Arthur Rackham and Aubrey Beardsley. She is an influential abstract artist in the UK and internationally, working with infinite passion and imagination to create unique and captivating works.

Louise Schofield

Working with ink and mixed media, Louise Schofield creates flowing abstract seascapes and vibrant splashes of motion.

Each of Schofield’s paintings has a distinctive emotional quality, generated in part by the vibrancy of the colours and the layering of different textures.

The movement and versatility of nature are her chief focal points, and they are rendered in these abstract paintings beautifully.

Tamsin Pearse

Tamsin Pearse works with acrylic paints, inks, metallic and pearlescent powders and resin to create abstract seascapes and landscapes with a captivating sense of depth.

Each piece is entirely unique and irreplicable, due to the fluidity of the resin, resulting in fascinating one-off artworks.

Pearse is inspired by the process as much as anything else.

She uses fire to add details to her work, curing the resin and scorching chosen areas. These abstract artworks build layer by layer to create the final image.