McAfee SECURE sites help keep you safe from identity theft, credit card fraud, spyware, spam, viruses and online scams

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 feelings.

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.

Related Links
To Top