Abstract Expressionism Essay

Abstract Expressionism Essay

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Abstract Expressionism


"What about the reality of the everyday world and the reality of
painting? They are not the same realities. What is this creative thing that
you have struggled to get and where did it come from? What reference or
value does it have, outside of the painting itself?" Ad Reinhardt, in a
group discussion at Studio 35, in 1950.

My essay starts with the origin and the birth of this great expression
in the twentieth century. This movement not only touched painting, it had
an affect on various aspects of art-poetry, architecture, theater, film,
photography.

Vasily Kandinsky, Kazimir Malevich and Piet Mondrian are considered to
be the pioneer artists to have achieved a truly abstract visual language in
painting. Although they worked independently, these artists were united by
a belief that abstract painting was capable of evoking a spiritual
experience. A central figure of German Expressionism, Kandinsky, in 1911,
began to paint densely layered composition of free-floating lines and areas
of color, with the intention to reveal his desire to instill visual form
with the properties of music. By 1915, Malevich had invented a new,
abstract visual set of paintings consisting of one or more colored
geometric shapes on a white field. He visualized a state of feeling, and a
sense of bliss and wonder. Mondrian took a different approach with tighter
geometric orientation and stricter compositional order. He was also
inspired by landscape but he interpreted it as a series of interlocking
vertical and horizontal lines.

It would be hard to advance any definition of abstract expressionism
without taking into account the vast and varied cultural and historical
happenings t...


... middle of paper ...


...painting and drawing led to his investigation of film making.

Abstract expressionism was the combination of idealism and
spirituality- two graeat schools of thought. I would sum up this essay by
quoting from Willem de Kooning describing what abstract art means to him in
1951. He saw it as a an art of spiritual harmony in which all the main
characters flew away from the painful realities of life. He said, " Their
own sentiment of form instead was one of comfort. The beauty of comfort.
The great curve of a bridge was beautiful because people could go across
the river in comfort. To compose in curves like that, and angles, and make
works of art with them could only make people happy, they maintained, for
the only association was one of comfort. That millions of people have died
in war since then, because of that idea of comfort, is something else."

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