Pop Art vs. Abstract Expressionism
Characteristics of Abstract Expressionist Paintings-optical buzz, all-over composition, Matisse sometimes painted images on large canvases, as did Picasso but paintings still retained an object like character- the viewer needed to stand back to see the complete composition. Abstract expressionist paintings, on the other hand, draw the spectator into them. The field of vision is thus larger than the field of vision of the spectator, who finds himself in a world beyond measurement (class handouts) "Portable Mural" Location- Generally, due to severity of totalitarian regimes of Europe, modernist artists were forced to flee Europe in order to continue their art. This meant a shift from the art capitol of the world being Paris to NYC. Aim- to attempt to project images from then unconscious. The painting does not express the feelings- it provokes them. (Herbert Read, 1980) Abstract Expressionism or 'Action Painting' differed from other phases of modern art because it had a different 'motive for extinguishing the object' (Hugh Honour & Fleming, 1991) also to react against shallow popular culture; pressure to conform to this. Not entirely expressionistic- the paintings have a life of their own, and exist therefore as things independent of the artists subjective feelings. (Herbert Read, 1980) •
Jackson Pollock- Leading abstract expressionist painter. Attitudes and Mental States- Disturbed and melancholic - archetypal American loner- raw violent and consumed by neuroses and frustration. He was not a naturally gifted painter and wrestled in rage and fury at his inability to master traditional techniques. Comes to him that he could find fulfilment by exteriorising this struggle, by making the act of painting its own subject. Influences- his familiarity with south-west Indian art, especially sand painting was to remain with him always and re-emerged as a seminal influence in his paintings. Pollok owed his "radical new sense of freedom" to the unpremeditated and automatic methods of the surrealists, meaning pictures drawn spontaneously and freely. Aim- To create art that went beyond storytelling, that conveyed an effect of energy and a dramatic mood independent of its subject. (class notes) wished to achieve an immediate emotional impact. To isolate concrete sensations. Attempt to project images from the unconscious (Herbert Read, 1980) Method- Action Painting. his "method" has become a legend- the un-stretched canvas on the floor, the use of sticks, trowels, knives and dropping fluid the occasional use of sand or broken glass- Pollock's aim as he said, was to get in his painting, I'm not, to become part of the painting, walking round it and working from all directions, like the Indian sand painters of the west. "When I am in my painting, I'm not aware of what I'm doing. It is only after a sort of "get aquatinted" period that I see what I have been about. I have no fear about making changes, destroying the image etc., because the painting has a life of it's own. I try to let it come through. It is only when I lose contact with the painting that the result is a mess. Otherwise there is pure harmony, an easy give and take, and the painting comes out well" Pollock found freedom in making the act of painting its own subject. Abandoning easel palette and even brushes he began to drip, pour, splatter and fling the paint on the canvas laid out like a piece of sailcloth on the floor. His whole body was involved. In this way the marks on the canvas were liberated from any possible representational significance, they simply recorded his engagement with the medium- true realism? Importance As a Historical Figure- Pollok was killed in an car accident in 1956. Since his death he has become a symbolic figure, representative of a whole movement that has given American painting an international status. Pollok the archetypal American loner. A clichéd artist, a tragedy; melancholic. •
Willem De Kooning-...
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