- To what extend did ‘Abstract Expressionists’ painters libe...
To what extend did ‘Abstract Expressionists’ painters liberate Art from tradition?
Cite examples of painters working in different styles (field =
Rothko, gestural = Jackson Pollock). Refer to established critics
(Clement Greenberg, Harold Rosenberg as supporting evidence for
your argument. Illustrate your essay with specific examples.
The term abstract expressionist was first used in 1919 to
describe the paintings of the Russian Wassily Kandinsky. I have
looked at the words individually, 'abstract' and 'Expressionism'.
If it were possible for me to define the word abstract with one
single other word (like a thesaurus), that word would be
'intangible'. To confuse matters further however, it is necessary
to define the word as a 'drawing out of, or away from reality'.
Some insight to the meaning of the word may be drawn from this
confusion as to its definition. Expressionism was a term first used
to describe the German art movement from 1905 to 1930. These
artists using pictorial forms sought to express their innermost
If we look at the work of Kandinsky we can see that it is both
of the above definitions that apply. Kandinsky's work is both
abstract in that he has moved away from a pictorial representation
of reality and also expressive in that he has used bold colours and
the work is spontaneously emotional.
Morris wrote. "Certain art is now using as its beginning and as
its means, stuff, substances in many states - from chunks, to
particles, to slime, to whatever - and light images are neither
necessary nor possible. Alongside this approach ice, contingency,
indeterminacy - in short, the entire area of process. Ends and
means are brought together in a way that never existed before in
art. In a very qualified way; Abstract Expressionism brought the
two together. But with the exception of a few artists, notably
Pollock and Louis, the formal re of Cubism functioned as an end
toward which the activity invariably red and in this sense was a
separate end, image, or form prior to any activity, with perhaps
the exception of unfocused play, projects" Ref 3
I believe that without Abstract Expressionism the tradition and
history of art would have survived as it always has, but the cannon
of art history would have been vastly changed.