If well chosen, art can be a welcome addition to the workplace. It creates atmosphere, enlivens boring office walls, and gives employees something beautiful and interesting to look at. However, not every work of art will be suited to a workplace environment, and different companies and industries suit different styles of art. Read on for some art styles to look out for when you need to pick out a piece of artwork for the company reception area, break room, or any other office space.


Gestural Abstraction (Action Painting)

You’ve heard of abstract art, and are probably familiar with Jackson Pollock’s splashes of color. A subset of abstract art, gestural abstraction, also known as action painting, is about the artist’s process of creation, and the painting is the ‘finished product’ of this process. It aims to connect with the observer’s subconscious through the dynamic style of painting. Art pieces like these are full of raw emotion but remain non-representational, and therefore, neutral enough for any company’s lobby or foyer.

Untitled 10

Untitled 10, by Shabnam Parvaresh

Classical realism

This genre revives the intricate artistry and skill of classical paintings of old, with realistic subject matter painted exactly as how the artist observes it. The subject matter can vary from personal, intimate portraits, to great, sweeping landscapes. This emphasis on beauty, harmony, and realism means that classical realist art is perfect for office spaces in grand buildings with heritage and history, or any space with a classic, timeless architecture.

Summer Dusky Sky

Summer Dusky Sky, by Lily Adamczyk

Constructivism It is minimal, clean, and sleek. Constructivist art has an air of functionality and pragmatism, with lots of clean-cut geometry put together in unique forms that call to mind futuristic technology. Constructivist paintings tie in wonderfully with the ethos and branding of tech startups or similar industries where technology, innovation, and design are driving forces.

Columnas Basálticas

Columnas Basálticas, by Alexis Gómez

Surrealism

This art genre is not for every workplace, especially traditional organizations. However, there is a wide range of surrealist pieces, and one suitable for work could be beneficial for all types of work settings. Surrealist art is never straightforward, and often has non-realistic elements in it ranging from the fantastical to the subtly disconcerting. This non-realistic quality leaves the artwork open to interpretation, urging the viewer to construct their own narrative in order to make sense of the artwork – an excellent exercise in creativity.

Monde Aphotique, by Vincent Madras

De Stijl (Neoplasticism)

It literally means ‘The style’, and this particular style of art is one of those paintings that people have very definite opinions on. Very common elements in this genre are simple lines and the use of only primary colors, a result of the principles of reducing art to the essentials, and focusing on pure abstraction. The most famous and recognizable examples of the genre are Mondrian’s Composition paintings. Some appreciate it, and some dismiss it because of its simplicity. Either way, De Stijl artworks are simple and straightforward, decorative but not distracting, making it a great candidate for office artwork.
E&A Series #2, by Leo Poloniecki

Which style works best for you?