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Abstract Expressionism Essay

1494 words - 6 pages


Abstract Expressionism: The American Movement

By: Larry Whitney

Axia College University of Phoenix

Abstract Expressionism: The American Movement 2
According to Merriam-Webster (2011), Abstract Expressionism is an artistic movement in the mid 20th-century comprising of diverse styles and techniques and emphasizing especially an artist's liberty to convey attitudes and emotions through nontraditional and usually nonrepresentational means. Abstract expressionism was the first American art form that gained worldwide ...view middle of the document...

Pollack was influenced by Mexican mural painter and by some aspects of Surrealism but by the mid 1940's he was painting in abstract manner. His “drip and splash” style, for which he is most famous, appeared around 1947. In this style of painting an easel was not used, instead he would put canvas on the floor and pour paint from a can. Pollack used sticks, trowels, or knives to manipulate the paint instead of brushes. “On the floor I am more at ease, I feel nearer, more a part of the painter, since this way I can walk around in it, work from the four sides and literally 'in' the painting.” – Jackson Pollack, 1947
Sacrifical Moment by Mark Rothko, 1945
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By 1947, Rothko abandoned all traditional forms of imagery and elements of Surrealism and non objective compositions of indeterminate shapes emerged in his work. Rothko still embodied classical elements such as color and shape. He favored large shapes for the impact it has on the viewer. Rothko said “ We favor the simple expression of complex thought” to describe his work in Abstract Expressionism. By the late 1940's, he abandoned naming his work but instead using numbers and colors to distinguish one work from another. Rothko did this not to paralyze the viewer's mind or imagination.
Valentine by Willem de Kooning, 1947
Willem de Kooning came to the United States in 1926 from Rotterdam. In New York he worked illegally as a commercial artist, window dresser, sign painter, and carpenter. While in New York Kooning met other artists such as John Graham and Arshile Gorky and worked for the Federal Art Project from 1935 to 1939. Kooning shared a studio with Gorky where Gorky's Surrealist style and Picasso's paintings influenced his style. Later Kooning was influenced by the New York School by the likes of Jackson Pollack. Contact with Pollack influenced him to do his first black and white abstract in 1946.

Abstract Expressionism: The American Movement 5

Scintillating Blue by Hans Hofmann, 1956
Hofmann's imagery inspired student and other artists throughout the world. He blended many styles together to form a style all his own. Unique to Hofmann, the combination of Fauvism, Cubism, and Abstract Expressionism lent itself to his style which was dedicated to shapes, color, lines, and space and always echoed the reality found in nature. The key to Hofmann's painting is his passion for nature, whether perceived from memory, from location, or imagination. He focused on natural elements, forms, and volume in a positive and negative spaces. Hofmann's work exemplifies the combinations used in 20th century art and captures the American spirit during this movement.
Mahoning by Franz Kline, 1956

Abstract Expressionism: The American Movement ...

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