Topics: Abstract expressionism, Modernism, History of painting Pages: 6 (1823 words) Published: October 27, 2014
In a previous essay, three different artists and their Abstract Expressionism pieces were discussed along with descriptions of their artwork and a look into their personal philosophies of art. The previous discussion also covered an explanation of the circumstances in which the pieces fit in with the time period and the environment of that time period. The following essay continues with the comparison of the form, content of the subject matter of the three artist’s works. The aesthetic qualities and symbolic significance of the pieces will be discussed as well as the artist’s points of view. THE ARTISTS OF ABSTRACT EXPRESSIONISM

The perception and creation of works of art is changing and moving into more modern eras. One such change in the perception of art creations is an art form referred to as Abstract Expression, which results from spur of the moment creations that are pulled from deep emotions and an urgent need to express those emotions through many type of art forms. One of the Abstract Expressionism art forms is painting where the artist’s replace the traditional brush strokes with a more random approach to painting. The subject matter of these paintings, in most cases, is not recognizable; however, some of the later artists have used abstract expressionism and incorporated recognizable figures in their art. These types of paintings began in New York shortly after World War II. (AIU, 2013). A few of the pieces from the time period include: Pollock’s “Autumn Rhythm” – Number 30, (1950), Untitled, (c. 1947) by Norman Lewis, and Frankenthaler’s “Eden” (1956), and Koonings’ “Woman and Bicycle” (1952-1953). “Autumn Rhythm” (1950), was created by soaking a canvas with a layer of black paint that was diluted and used for the framework of the entire painting. Once the initial layer soaked the entire area of the canvas, other colors were added to create the effect of the painting. These colors were white, brown, and turquoise. These colors were added in such a way that the painting depicted contrary visual characteristics, such as vertical and horizontal lines and also straight and circular patterns. Rough surfaces in the canvas contribute to the complexity of the painting, such as pooled paint swirls where colors meet and barely visible wrinkles formed by paint build up. “Autumn Rhythm” does not depict any recognizable object; however, it does give the illusion of nature. (Metropolitan, 2000-2013).

During the years following World War II, much of the artwork focused on issues and keeping with social commitment; however, when artists began using more personal styles for their paintings, this resulted in the artists moving away from art depicting the happenings of the time. (Frank, 2011). It was during this time that Jackson Pollock had the greatest influence on the art world. Jackson Pollock (1912-1956), studied under Thomas Hart Benton before beginning his action paintings, which involved the spilling and pouring of paints onto a canvas. . (Biography, 2013). Jackson Pollock (1912-1956), was considered to be the major trendsetter of Abstract Expressionism. When Helen Frankenthaler began creating Abstract Expressionism pieces, she incorporated aspects of Pollock’s action painting with her own style. Frankenthaler used the same technique of covering the canvas with an initial diluted color and allowing it to seep into the canvas as a beginning of the piece. As with Pollock’s works, Frankenthaler added several colors to create her works; however, she opted to use softer colors and the results were not as random. When Frankenthaler created “Eden” (1956), she added numerous shapes that gave the painting the illusion of trees and plants which gave the piece an appearance of a mystical garden. Baker (2010-2013) quotes Halasz’s description of “Eden”, “In addition to its dulcet clarity and command…a very funny picture…centering…upon two blue, slightly...

References: AIU Online. (2013). HUMA205: Unit 5: Expression and Modernism. [Course Materials]. Retrieved from AIU Online Virtual Campus. Art Appreciation: HUMA205-1303A-12 website.
Baker, B. (2010-2013). Helen Frankenthaler: Magic & Discipline. Retrieved from
Brainy Quote
Frank, P. (2011). Prebles’ ArtForms: An Introduction to the Visual Arts. (10th ed.) [Online version]. Retrieved from
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Gagosian Gallery (2013). Helen Frankenthaler. Eden (1956). Oil on canvas. Retrieved from
Gagosian Gallery
Jackson Pollock Biography. (2013). The Biography Channel website. Retrieved August 23, 2013 from
Kooning, W. (1952-1953). Woman and Bicycle. Retrieved from
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The Art Story Foundation. (2013). Willem de Kooning. Retrieved from
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Whitney Museum of American Art. (2009). Whitney Kids. Willem de Kooning de Kooning’s page. Woman and Bicycle. 1952-53. Retrieved from
William de Kooning Biography
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