Abstract Art

Written by Blaire Chandler-Wilcox
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Abstract art, also known as Abstract Expressionism, was first used in connection with Russian painter Wassily Kandinksy in 1919. Kandinsky's work was non-realistic and non-geometric and all about communicating emotion through color. However, the term really came into its own to refer to an entire movement in the 1950s. These artists (typified at the time by Pollack and De Kooning) saw themselves as disillusioned commentators on culture and society after the Depression and World War II. They also shared a common belief in Jungian myth and the power of symbols, and were particularly impressed with Existentialist ideas.

Abstract Art: I See How You're Feeling

There are two primary segments today within the world of Abstract Expressionism. The first is Color Field Abstract art, which features large, unified blocks of color. The paintings of Mark Rothko are excellent examples of this style.

The second segment is much wider in definition. It includes multiples genres, from Surrealism to Expressionism, Cubism to Action painting. Regardless of the means, all abstract art is about primarily one thing: capturing the essence of the artist's subconscious on the canvas.

Abstract expressionism is highly subjective. Its point is to convey, without using realistic imagery, the feeling or psychological energy of the artist. Particularly illustrative examples are works of art by Dali, Jackson Pollack, Picasso and Paul Klee.


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