Eric Kandel is a Neuroscientist and a professor. His new booked called Reductionism in Art and Brain Science is a great read for art lovers. His main point is that abstract works of art are more engaging and less cluttered than representational work.
Kander goes on to give many examples from the New School of Painting back in the forties and early 1950's to drive his point home. Kandinsky,Rothko and many others talk about how abstract art reduces the visual world around us to it's simple essence of form, line, color and light. Thus making the work more exciting to project own memories and aspirations on to the canvas. Abstract art is less complex generally so we can focus our attention on the work itself.
Color field painters who came along shortly after the abstract expressionist movement in America say that abstract art contributes greatly to an uplifting sense of spirituality that this type of art art can induce. Memory, emotion and empathy as well as visual perception add to the joy of viewing abstract art.
A great read and not written for the science community.