Abstract art in its broader sense is a total departure from any illusion of reality. Artists in this category use other means to present visual descriptions of their emotions. The subject matter tends to move away from any reference to any recognizable object.
Abstract art can be contemplative, lyrical, expressive, geometrical, minimalist and symbolic. Within these groups, different levels of abstraction can also be distinguished. In geometric and lyrical abstraction is unlikely to find any reference to the real world, whereas in the other groups the possibilities broaden.
Some artists may choose partial abstraction to create subjects that are different from how they are perceived in real life, like Pablo Picasso did during his cubist years. Other artists like Jackson Pollock created significant works purely for aesthetic reasons. The intent was to use the elements and principles of art in a way that resulted in visually stimulating works.