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Two Kinds of Abstract Expressionism

Page history last edited by spencer.myers@... 10 years, 11 months ago

Two Kinds of Abstract Expressionism

 There are two types of Abstract Expressionist painters, Action painters, and Color Field painters. According to a web source, “In simple terms, the Abstract Expressionism movement encompassed two broad groupings. These included: (1) the so-called “action painters” such as Jackson Pollock and Willem De Kooning who focused on an active gestural style; and (2) the more passive “colour-field” painters, notably Mark Rothko, Barnett Newman and Clyfford Still, who were concerned with reflection and mood. That said, it is not always easy to draw a precise line between these two types of Abstract Expressionism, and several artists contributed to both (Visual-Arts-Cork). There are two styles within the Abstract Expressionism movement which the artists can be categorized. However, some of the Abstract Expressionists practiced both styles. The distinctions between the two styles can sometimes be hard to determine in certain artists work due to the influence that both Action painters and Color Field painters had on each other.

Color Field Painting: The Color Field painters focused on color and contrast. The Barnett Newman painting bellow is a good example of the Color Field painting style. This painting is a horizontal painting with contrasting vertical lines dividing the piece into sections or fields. Like many of the Color Field painters this painting emphasizes fields of color and aims to capture the attention and emotion of the viewer with fields of color.



 Barnett Newman - Vir Heroicus Sublimis - 1950-51



Action Painting: The Action painters used a style that involved streaks and overlapping lines of paint which implied movement in the artwork. The artist Franz Kline is a well known Abstract Expressionist Action painter. The painting below by Franz Kline is a good example of an Action painting. The use of layers of paint and rigid contrasting edges are common characteristics of the Action painting style.


              Franz Kline - Mahoning - 1956             


1955, By. "Abstract Expressionism, History, Styles: Action-Painting, Colour Field: Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko." Irish Art | Encyclopedia of Visual Arts in Ireland | History of Painting, Sculpture, Printmaking: Artists, Museums, Galleries, Exhibitions. Web. 26 Nov. 2010. <http://www.visual-arts-cork.com/history-of-art/abstract-expressionism.htm>.

"Franz Kline - Painting - New York, N.Y." AMERICAN MUSEUM OF BEAT ART. Web. 11 Dec. 2010. <http://www.beatmuseum.org/kline/newyork.html>.

Room, By. "Vir Heroie Subl. (Silkscreen Print) by Barnett Newman Art Print - WorldGallery.co.uk." Art Prints & Posters - WorldGallery.co.uk for Modern & Classic Prints & Framing. Web. 11 Dec. 2010. <http://www.worldgallery.co.uk/art-print/Vir-heroie-subl.-(Silkscreen-print)-80857.html>.



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