Modern Canvas On - Interpreting Modern Art 

Before we talk about interpreting art, let us try to understand what modern art really is. Modern art, which emerged in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, represents a break from traditional artistic norms and conventions. It is characterized by a variety of styles, techniques, and mediums, often prioritizing abstraction and experimentation over realistic representation. The interpretation of modern art can be subjective and multifaceted, influenced by historical, cultural, and personal contexts.

modern art by francis newton souza
artist sayed haider raza modern art

Modern Canvas mentions that modern art invites viewers to explore beyond the surface, engaging with deeper meanings and personal interpretations. Its diversity and complexity make it a rich field for both appreciation and critical study. There is rarely anything very obvious in modern art, this is what causes different viewers to arrive at differing interpretations. Modern Canvas experts claim that it is not uncommon for artists, to deliberately use colors and color combinations, that add intrigue and manipulate obvious interpretations. 

It is felt that having some background information about a piece of modern art and the artist, helps in making a fair interpretation of modern art. While Modern Canvas Malaysia does make these observations, it comes with a note that modern art can be very unpredictable. The fact that the artist is bound by nothing including reality implies that, interpretation is likely to be subjective and relative to a specific person or environment - probably even specific to the mindset of the viewer.

modern art sunil das
bhupen khakhar modern art


Understanding the artist's background, intentions, and the context in which the work was created can provide insights into its meaning. The social, political, and cultural environment during the time of the artwork's creation can influence its interpretation. Examining the elements of art (color, form, line, shape, space, texture, and value) and principles of design (balance, contrast, emphasis, movement, pattern, rhythm, and unity) within the artwork. Identifying and interpreting symbols and motifs within the artwork. Each viewer's personal experiences, emotions, and thoughts can influence their interpretation of the artwork.


We must make a mention of the renowned artists shown in this report. Extremely talented in modern art and abstract creations, artists like Sunil Das, Bhupen Khakhar, Francis Newton Souza and Sayed Haider Ali - continue to be an inspiration to young aspiring artists of today. 

As of June 2024, all the above pieces of art are in the Modern Canvas collection in Malaysia. They were procured from reputed auction house Christie's and this is proof enough of their authenticity.