Abstract Expressionism Art
The Characteristics Of Abstract Expressionism Art
Abstract has become a word to describe something that is not as we see it in the world. At the end of World War II, abstract was a truly American art movement, born from the devastating images of the Holocaust and the War. Artists pulled away from the ugliness in realism and began creating with form, color, and movement.
Following on the forefathers of this school of art, such as Pollock and Rothko and von Doesburg, artists continue to create with this unique perspective. To be considered abstract expressionism, the art piece must not represent any real object, and have no recognizable object within it. Instead, the subject of the art is comprised of color and form. The three categories of abstract expressionism art are action, color, and hard-edge painting.
Action painting was the first manifestation of abstract expressionism, and is most well-known through the work of Jackson Pollock. Pollock’s work was often created by throwing paint at the canvas. Other artists found their own ways to get away from brush strokes and into full-body paint applications. The result was a sense of movement through the painting, as if the colors were on their way somewhere else and were somehow frozen mid-step. The techniques of this school have evolved, and contemporary pieces within this tradition will have swaths of colors, layered upon one another to create the required sense of action.
After a decade of action painting within the world of abstract expressionism, a group of artists came along to take the absence of form one step further. Imagine the work of Mark Rothko, with blocks of color and little else. The meaning is subjective, and comes from the placement of blue against that particular shade of tan and what it might mean to the viewer and the time of the viewing. Modern artists in this school often explore a mixed media approach, placing blocks of colored wood or metal next to each other to explore color relationships.
As color artists arrived in the art world, another group of artists began taking abstract expressionism in another direction. Instead of expanding the color in a piece, these artists explored the form. Squares, rectangles, and triangles became the subject of the art. Unlike the swirls of action painting or the unfocused edges of color painting, hard-edge painters used distinct shapes, clean lines, and precise, impersonal clarity.
Today, over half a century since this art style emerged from the American art world, art considered to be abstract expressionism is not tied to these narrow movements. Still, in order to be considered truly abstract, the subject of the work cannot be a real object. Instead, color, line, material, and form are combined to create a unique contribution to society.