Contemporary Art: A Guide to understanding modern and contemporary Art!

Australian Artist

With many art forms that are available today, it isn’t very easy for a collector to understand the various aspects related to art. In this article, we’ll be educating art lovers and collectors about what contemporary and modern art is in a simple way.

What is Contemporary or Modern Art?

When it comes to these two terms, in art ‘contemporary’ and ‘modern’ are often interchangeable. 

Modern art refers to the period that began in the 1880’s and that lasted until the 1960s. Whereas Contemporary art can be said to be art that was developed after the 1960s and that is still emerging. It is a term that is used to describe art that is produced in this current era.

Understanding Contemporary Artworks

Contemporary art encompasses various forms of creation; from sculpture, painting, installation art to photography, performance art, collage, multimedia, and digital art.  The concept of contemporary art has also attracted artists and art lovers because the art produced during this period celebrates experimentation and neglects the traditions of the past.

Contemporary Art Styles

Here’s a list of the most influential contemporary art styles that’s been used by today’s modern generation of Artists.

Conceptual Art: Articulating an Idea

Conceptual art attracts the mind instead of the senses. It’s a type of art that makes you think deeply. This type of art rejects the “norms” against which art is measured, be it beauty, skill, or expressions. Emphasis is placed on the particular idea or thought process that the work of art wishes to evoke.

Pop Art:

Do you like looking at simple bright images? Pop art was born by famous artists such as Andy Warhol.  It was based on popular culture and mass media, encompassing bright colour and cultural objects.

Andy Warhol



A movement that offers a highly purified form of beauty. So that the viewer can look and appreciate what they see without comparing to external objects.  It is simplicity and harmony put together.  Many people criticise this art form as they see it as too ‘simple’ and art that ‘anyone can do’.  However if this type of contemporary art is what connects with you, perhaps this is a sign that you may need simplicity in your life, and hanging a piece of artwork like this may be exactly what you need!

Dorothea Rockburne


Installation Art:

A term used to describe a fully immersive experience built on a large scale with mixed media contractions.  An artist will turn any space into an interactive experience.

Flower Obsession - yayoi Kusama - contemporary art
Flower Obsession – yayoi Kusama


Earth Art:

A contemporary movement that turns the natural earth into a masterpiece.  Artists left their structures to be displayed in the elements.  This movement was a direct rejection of traditional galleries which only operated to make profits. These artists wanted people to experience true art without the price tag attached, in the natural elements for every one to equally enjoy.

Martin Hill and Philippa Jones, Synergy, 2009 | Courtesy of Martin Hill


Street Art – The Rise Of Graffiti:

This is a recent contemporary art movement, often stemmed from social activism.  The most profound street artists being the famous Bansky. 

Bansky – Street Art


Abstract Art: Obscure but Profound

Artists love this art form because they can let their creativity run free on the canvas. It’s like composing poetry, only with pure colours, shapes, and styles. When a child unleashes his imagination in his sketches, he uses a generous amalgam of colours to express his emotions and his lines or shapes to represent objects. Abstract artists express themselves through their art in a similar way.

What does a contemporary Artists of the 2000’s look like?

Contemporary art gives you freedom, it’s more complex, and can be a strong tool of self expression. This newly discovered freedom is the revolutionary way of relying on self-expression, shows the nature of the effect of being influenced by contemporary art.

This not only reflects the movement towards non-figuration but has also influenced the approach to real life, social problems and images of contemporary life.

Australian Art on display

Australian Artist Isabella Karolewicz, owner of Bella’s Art Studio is a contemporary artist. She is a contemporary artist that does not fall into the categories above, but instead has made her own unique category and original approach to art.  Bella’s style of artworks can be defined as a combination of ‘traditional and contemporary art styles’ mixed together.  Thereby creating a modern/contemporary piece. 

Contemporary Art by Bella’s Art Studio

To give you more insight into these contemporary works, let’s take a look at one of her elegant figurative pieces.

Here, we have one of Isabella’s beautiful contemporary oil paintings, called “Grace” from her Couture Series.

Australian Art
Australian Art

It’s a powerful art piece that combines beautiful women with vintage dresses that combine into abstract backgrounds. The figure is painted in a traditional style, however, the backgrounds are completed in a contemporary, abstract way using modern mediums and tools such as impasto and spatulas. 

Lets take a look at another slightly different contemporary painting with the same underlying values.  Here we have ‘Forever Young, Paris’.  Even though this painting by Bella is substantially different from her couture painting above, it still holds true to contemporary values.

The background is completed in a non conventional, abstract style.  The colours are not ‘real to life’, instead are overall subdued and exaggerated throughout the trees. However, when it comes to the intricate details of the family, this is completed in a traditional style, creating a mixture of painting styles.  

Visit Australian Artist Bella’s Painting Gallery to view more examples of unique contemporary works.

Buy the Art that Inspires You

If you’re an advanced collector or just starting to collect contemporary art pieces, here are some tips that you should know.

Think about the type of art that gives you that instant “Wow” at first-glance. Most art pieces today are created not just to showcase the artist’s craft, but also to give inspiration to those who are adoring art. If you happen to find one yourself, don’t miss the chance to get that piece and add it to your collection. Art pieces aren’t made for everyone, so take advantage of the opportunity if you can.

Looking to Buy Contemporary or Modern Art Paintings but Don’t Know Where to Start?

There are many places to buy authentic and original paintings. If you are in Melbourne, feel free to book a studio Visit with Isabella Karolewicz herself, where you can see her contemporary masterpieces in person.  Or feel free to contact her anytime, as she deals with international collectors also.


The Main Characteristics of Contemporary Art are;

  • It is based on abstract expressionism.
  • It has an artistic avant-garde heritage and is looking for different forms of expression.
  • Its works are original, artistic and leave the mark of the author who interprets them.
  • The means or instruments for performing contemporary works of art are changing and new technologies are being used day by day.
  • It emphasises self-expression and emotions.
  • The colours used are strong, and the content is symbolic.
Bella's Art Studio