American Abstract Art Essay

2938 words - 12 pages

Abstract Expressionism is considered a triumph in American Painting. It is still the most discussed and debated form of twentieth century American art, and still influences generations of artists. It used the cultural references of the tragic, the unconscious, the sublime and the primitive to create a unique and evocative style of painting that was unique in the art world.

Though some may view Abstract Expressionism and Surrealism as similar, the thing that made it fundamentally different, according to Motherwell, was that the artists worked more `directly' and `violently' and on a `much larger scale physically than the surrealists ever had.' (Page 40, David and Cecil) It also seems important to Motherwell to have a style that challenges the limits. `Of course this anticipated Pollock's drip style, but only in a very limited sense, i.e., limited to arcs. By comparison, what Pollock achieved was totally different, totally free.' (Page 41, David and Cecil)

Abstract Expressionist artists believed that the subconscious mind could recognise and respond to the emotions portrayed in their paintings. To aid this absorption of feeling, blocks of colour and simple forms were used extensively. `Abstract expressionism's avowed purpose is to express the self to the self.' (Page 2, David and Cecil)

According to Chave, paintings such as `Untitled (Violet, Black, Orange, Yellow on White and Red)' by Rothko `metaphorically encompass' the tragic `cycle of life from cradle to grave, in part by harbouring an oblique reference to both adorations and entombments.' (http://www.guggenheimcollection.org/site/artist_work_md_138_5.html) He also suggests that this particular painting, of 1949 represents a mother, possibly the Virgin Mary; represented by the blocks of red orange and yellow, cradling the infant Jesus, represented by the black line that runs though the centre of the painting. That a painting could be read in this way reveals its sublime aura.

Rothko saw the `clouds of colour' in his paintings as abstract `performers possessing tragic or ethereal demeanours.' (Page 23, Hopkins) The size of the paintings functioned as a representation of scale. Viewers could measure themselves against the coloured blocks. `This could lead to the feeling of being enveloped or transported out of the body,' (Page 23, Hopkins) Frank O'Hara also considered scale important in Pollock's paintings, because of the `emotional effect of the painting upon the spectator.' (Page 28, O'Hara) `Blue Poles', by Pollock is seven feet high and some sixteen feet across. Robertson describes it as a `world self contained and utterly convincing which the spectator should be flexible to enter, explore and move about in.' (Page 29, Robertson)

Gottlieb and Rothko were inspired by primitive and archaic art, but removed any symbols from their original context, making their connotations inaccessible to the general public. The viewer could not tell what these symbols meant to the artist by...

Find Another Essay On American Abstract Art

Changes in Art History with Emphasis on the Mid-Twentieth Century

3759 words - 15 pages in what they saw around them. The End of World War II: The major art movement taking place in the United States directly after World War II was abstract expressionism. The abstract expressionist movement “devoted itself to the principles that art is most expressive when a relationship is established between the artist and the spectator” . For the most part, abstract expressionism attracted the American public with its simple methods and

Aesthetic Movement [21] African American [20] Ancient Egypt [234] Ancient Greece and Hellenistic States [590] Ancient Near East [348]

283 words - 2 pages Styles and Cultures [12207]Aboriginal Australia and Oceania [93]Abstract Expressionism [36]Aesthetic Movement [21]African American [20]Ancient Egypt [234]Ancient Greece and Hellenistic States [590]Ancient Near East [348]Ancient Rome [380]Art Deco [45]Art Nouveau [179]Arts and Crafts Movement [66]Baroque [1574]Bauhaus [19]Buddhist [190]Christian [850]Constructivism [63]Cubism [86]Dada [40]Etruscan [38]Expressionism [99]Fauvism [16]Fluxus and

Changes during the Pop Art Movement

1051 words - 4 pages against abstract expressionism, which had dominated painting in the United States during the later 1940s and 1950s. During the later 1950s, there were many indications that American painting would return to a new kind of figuration. Pop art brought art back to the material realization of everyday life, to popular culture in which ordinary people derived most of their visual language in what perceived to be the real world of shopping, movie stars

Pop Art of the 1960's

2038 words - 8 pages protesters. According to these new artists, "art needed to reflect images indicative of the times". (Wolf 81)The art movement that resulted from the revolt against the Abstract Expressionism of the 1950's became known as American Popular Art or Pop Art. Pop Art found its niche in 1960's society as it provided a relief to Americans in light of the political and social conflicts of the times. Pop artists wanted their art to be a concrete expression of

Fauvism and abstract expressionism

820 words - 3 pages extended their artistic influence. It is impossible to estimate how much they affected American art, but the fact remains that in the 1940s and '50s, for the first time, American artists became internationally important with their new vision and new artistic vocabulary, known as Abstract Expressionism.It drew on the main art movements of the early part of the 20th century, with colour being inspired from the Fauves, shape concepts from the Cubists

Modern Art

1138 words - 5 pages Warhol and how they carried on the avant garde, a radically new and original, approach to modern art artists before Pollock and Warhol in their respective areas of art. This essay will cover Pollock and Warhol's lives that influenced their art works, some techniques of each artists respective styles and an overview of the chosen artworks.Jackson Pollock, Number one, Abstract expressionismWhen I am in a painting, I'm not aware of what I'm doing

Most Progressive American Artists

1672 words - 7 pages . (good word huh?) This is a brief background on "abstract-expressionism"- During and after world war II many European artists fled Europe and headed to America for safety, their presence heralded one of the most progressive artistic movements in history. Its difficult to gauge how much they actually did influence American art, but its clear that in the 40's and 50s American artists became internationally important (as never before) with their new

Jasper John

751 words - 3 pages memories. He is known today as an aspirating painter, sculptor and printmaker. Jasper Johns became one of America's best-known post-Abstract Expressionists and Minimalists. His name is most associated with pictorial images of American Flags.Early Life: Jasper Johns was born in 1930, in Augusta, Georgia. Although born in Georgia, he was raised in Allendale, South Carolina. As a young boy, Jasper has had an admiration for art. Jasper's hometown had

Oscar Howe

975 words - 4 pages Howe's style of painting, in the later years, was marked as New Indian Painting. Howe was and is considered a pioneer of this new form as it began its rise in the 1950's. Native American artists moved beyond the Traditional Indian Paintings and began to develop a style using modern characteristics such as Cubism and Abstract Expressionism. This is easy to see in Oscar Howe's Horses, 1963.Their are several factors that caused the shift from

Abstract Expressionism and Frank O’Hara’s Writing

2255 words - 9 pages Abstract Expressionism and Frank O’Hara’s Writing While researching everything about American cotemporary poet Frank O’Hara, it became very apparent that art was a driving force in both his personal life and his professional writing career. This can be proved by merely trying to find information about him in the literature section in a library. Only his collected poems can be found, but much more information about Frank O’Hara can be

Comparison of Jackson Pollack, Willem De Koonig and Mark Rothko in the modern era

1754 words - 7 pages Jackson (Paul) Pollock, was an American painter, who was a leader of the abstract expressionist movement. He was born in Cody, Wyoming, and studied at the Art Students League in New York City with Thomas Hart Benton. Pollock spent several years traveling around the country and sketching. In the late 1930s and early 1940s he worked in New York City on the Work Projects Administration Federal Art Project. His early paintings, in the naturalistic

Similar Essays

The Meaning Of Abstract Art Essay

1098 words - 4 pages flexibility of abstract art, it continued to appeal to artists well after its initial inception and so the meaning of abstract art continues to evolve. Mark Rothko is a classic example of nonrepresentational art, or abstract art. He first appeared in the 1940's and is "identified with the New York School, a circle of painters that emerged during the 1940's as a new collective voice in the American art." (http://www.nga.gov/feature

Discussion On Abstract Art Vs. 'fine' Art

1081 words - 4 pages century, containing outstanding works from such artists as Paul Cezanne, Albrecht Durer, and Claude Monet. The Philadelphia Museum of Art, holding over 300,000 pieces of work, has an absolutely beautiful collection of French paintings and sculpture. Even more impressive, the Metropolitan Museum of Art houses over 2,000,000 works of art. Their collection of American Painting and sculpture is arguably one of the finest in the world. Having established

Discuss Reasons For, And Ways In Which, Abstract Expressionism Was Promoted As A Radically New And Distinctive Style Of Painting

2231 words - 9 pages individuals by asserting a confident, American, individualistic and masculine style of art. Abstract Expressionism embodied and showcased on a world scale the more positive values of the USA - that is, the values of a liberal, free enterprise society with an emphasis on self-criticism and discussion. Hence, the movement was canonised, promoted and supported by such key American institutions as the international program at Museum of Modern Art

Art Therapy: Children And Its Effectiveness

979 words - 4 pages started to transform and take on a new appearance as well. From being a story prop to something that is more abstract; art started to become more and more important in the lives of people. During the renaissance in Europe, many new artists and ways of thinking emerged and became the main-stream way of thinking. Many of those artist are household names such as Vincent Van Gogh and Leonardo da Vinci . They transformed art from what it was to how we see
suiv. → | Read Essay | 2016❯