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Abstract Expressionism.

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Abstract Expressionism "New needs need new techniques. And the modern artists have found new ways and new means of making their statements ... the modern painter cannot express this age, the airplane, the atom bomb, the radio, in the old forms of the Renaissance or of any other past culture." Jackson Pollock Rarely has such a massive transfer of influence has ever touched the world as did in the Paris to New York shift of the 1940's and 1950's. All of the characters of American art were to be expelled in a rapid shift of power. No longer would American artists be the lamb suckling at the teat of European sources, American art was to dispose of narrow-mindedness, an uninterested public, and liberate itself into a valued and meaningful force equal to, and in fact exceeding that of, art produced anywhere within the era. The painting and sculpture that emerged from the 'New York School' in the mid 1940s was the foremost artistic movement of its time. It was labelled as the Abstract Expressionist movement. This is a turning point in American art history for the reason that it caused the rest of the art world to recognize New York as the new center of innovation. The outbreak of World War Two had devastated the world massively, crushing world economies, social structure and optimistic manifestos left, right and centre. ...read more.


'It welcomed the image that rose unbidden from a chaos of marks' (Modern Art 3rd Ed, p.265) I feel an image which demonstrates this these values and theories well is Jackson Pollock's Blue Poles (1952) Arguably one of the best action paintings created by this artist and the preverbal 'ice-breaker' of the modern style. When I first laid eyes upon Blue Poles it was not the spontaneity or the haphazard appeal of the image that first drew me to it, but the almost rigid uniformity and methodical nature in which the painting has been created. Far from random, this piece is a consistent and accurate image. There is always something interesting to pleasure you in an action painting of Jackson Pollock and looking into this piece, I believe, opens up the world of the artist. I can visualize Pollock pacing up, down and around his canvas delicately flicking domestic house paint in an orderly fashion trying to portray his emotions on that day. His technique was to lay the canvas on the floor and 'attack' the page from above this way he could really get 'inside' the piece. Blue Poles for me does not represent anything harsh or cruel. This painting is, for me, Pollock's exploration of his own feelings of thoughtfulness and attention to detail and beauty. The carefully mixed colours and paints are not straight out of the tube or tin and are well thought-out and work well layered together. ...read more.


Sculptors as well as painters were influenced by Abstract Expressionism, the leading figures including Ibram Lassaw (1913), Seymour Lipton (1903-86), and Theodore Roszak (1907-81). Today Abstract Expressionism has become part of the standard critical vocabulary but in the 1940's it was as fresh as the Sensation Show was at the peak of its success. A movement which can unmistakably be described as influenced by Abstract Expressionism is that of Minimalism. In Minimalism objects are cut down to their fundamental, geometric form, and presented in an impersonal manner. This movement is a direct descendant of Abstract Expressionism, and colour-field painters in particular. Large scale washes of colour in sections and the overall emotion evoked being far more important than any kind of subject matter. A number of famous developments were led by artists associated with Abstract Expressionists and New York school artists. As the influence of abstract expressionism decreased in the 1960s, artists came to question the very philosophy underlying modernism. As the force and vigour of abstract expressionism diminished, new artistic movements and styles arose during the 1960s and 70s to challenge and displace modernism in painting, sculpture, and other media. This is how Pop art reared its head. Dada-like styles employed in the early 1960s and thereafter by Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns had widespread influence, as did the styles of many other artists. Abstract Expressionism, far from dead however, is still very much alive and living. It lives in modern pieces and artists across the globe; its influence knows no bounds. ...read more.

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