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Action Painting

Page history last edited by spencer.myers@... 13 years, 4 months ago

Action Painting

The Action painters had a gestural style that gave the sense of movement in their artwork. The action painting style was made popular by Jackson Pollock, one of the most popular Abstract Expressionist painters. According to a web source, “In 1947, Jackson Pollock developed a radical new technique called “action- painting”, which involved dripping thinned paint onto raw canvas laid on the ground using wide and rhythmic sweeps of a large and loaded brush (if a brush was used) or, more usually direct from the can – a far cry from the traditional painterly method whereby pigment was applied by a brush to a canvas on an easel” (Visual-Arts-Cork). The action-painter Jackson Pollock used a technique of throwing paint onto a canvas on the ground which was dramatically different from the traditional methods.


The action painters artwork gave the impression of movement within the painting. According to the web source, “Pollock’s painting smashed all conventions of traditional American art. Their subject matter was entirely abstract, their scale was huge, and their iconoclastic production method became almost as important as the works themselves. This was because, for these Abstract Expressionists, the authenticity of a painting lay in its directness and immediacy of expression: in how the artist conveyed his inner pulses, his unconscious being. In a sense, the painting itself became an event, a drama of self-revelation. Hence the term ‘action painting’”(Visual-Arts-Cork). The paintings of Jackson Pollock, Mark Tobey, Franz Kline, Robert Motherwell, Cy Twombly, and Lee Krasner all have works which contain the gestural style of movement and action.  Action painters had a physical and almost theatrical method of painting which came through in their artwork.


action painting

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Jackson Pollock


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>.

"Jackson Pollock « Artinthepicture.com Blog." Art in the Picture.com - An Introduction to Art History. Web. 28 Nov. 2010. <http://www.artinthepicture.com/blog/?p=120>.

Jackson Pollock http://www.arthistoryspot.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/JacksonPollock2.jpg

"YouTube - Jackson Pollock 51." YouTube - Broadcast Yourself. Web. 28 Nov. 2010. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CrVE-WQBcYQ>.




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