Last updated: August 21, 2019
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Title :  Pushing The Envelope :  figuration and Abstract Expressionism, an examination of the works of Gorky and de kooning.:In this dissertation, I will debate the works of William De Kooning from the Abstract Expressionist era, and Arshile Gorky in the wider Abstract Movement. Throughout I will explore the two definite artists’ different methods of abstraction, with my focus being constructed on the history of abstraction and figuration. I will also discuss the Abstract Expressionism movement which was originally well established in the early 1900’s and had a vast influence on various artists (Fer, 2000), including Gorky from the former movement of abstraction who accomplished a number of works which emphasised the movement and its exceptional style of painting.  According to Crowther and Wunsche (2012), there are many ways to produce an abstract piece, including those consisting of frantic mark making and reconstruction of structural pieces.How its going to be structured and what the overall argument will be?  Abstract expressionism The Movement  In Context Abstract expressionism is a post–World War II art movement in American painting, developed in New York in the 1940s. It was the first precise American movement to achieve international influence and put New York City at the centre of the western art world, a part previously occupied by Paris.(Footnote) Abstract expressionism is the term applied to new actions of abstract art established by American painters such as Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko and Willem de Kooning in the 1940’s and 1950’s. It is often characterized by gestural brush-strokes or mark making, and the impression of impulsiveness. Utmost Abstract Expressionist paintings are large scale, include non-figurative imagery, lack a clear focal point, and show evident signs of the artist’s working process, but these characteristics are not constant in every example. (AnfMann,2017)(virgina B Dr. Virginia B. Spivey, “Abstract Expressionism, an introduction,)Although widely recognized by individual styles, the Abstract Expressionists shared mutual artistic and intellectual interests. While not clearly political, most of the artists held strong feelings based on Marxist ideas of social and economic equality. Many had progressed directly from employment in the Works Progress Administration’s Federal Art Project. There, they established  influences in Regionalist styles of American artists such as Thomas Hart Benton, and the Socialist Realism of Mexican muralists including Diego Rivera and José Orozco. (AnfMAnn,2017) (expand Situations that creates these movement’s and why the shift.For additional artists, scale significantly contributed to the meaning, and for the time, the works were vast in scale. In addition, they were meant to be viewed in relatively close environments, so that the viewer was virtually enveloped by the involvement of confronting the work. Rothko said, “I paint big to be intimate.” The concept is toward the personal and true expression of the individual rather than the extravently. |(Rothko,1950)Scale – Connection – Honor fleming book – A world history of art.Abstract Expressionism’s Legacy – Should this section be later Maybe ConclusionDuring the 1950s, the movement of Abstract Expressionism became the leading inspiration for  artists both in the United States and abroad. The U.S. government received  its distinguishing style as a reflection of American democracy, individuality, and cultural accomplishment, and actively promoted international exhibitions of Abstract Expressionism as a form of political propaganda during the years of the Cold War. However, many artists found it difficult to replicate the emotional legitimacy implicit in the stylistic innovations of de Kooning and Pollock. Their work seemed studied and needed the same vitality of the first-generation pioneers. Others saw the abstract undertones of Abstract Expressionism at odds with a society progressively concerned with a consumer mentality, drove by economic success and explosion of the mass media. Such responses would inescapably lead to the emergence of Pop, Minimalism, and the rise of a range of new artistic developments in the mid-20th century. (Polgari,1990) (ref, quotes) Abstract Expressionism: How colour was a big influence / Scale /Expand Text Another noteworthy path way in the expressive of colour. Rothko, Newman, and  Clyfford still, for example, produced artwork based on simplified, large format, colour – dominated  – (Illustrate) fields, the impulse was in general very much reflective and cerebral, with pictorial focusses simplified to create a kind of elemental impact. Rothko and Newman, among others, would often speak of a clear goal to achieve the “sublime” rather than the “beautiful”, in a drive for a grand sublime and heroic visual opposition to a calming or comforting effect, which Newman labelled his reductivism as one means of.                     “…Freeing ourselves of the obsolete props of an outmoded and antiquated legend which would really free ourselves from the impediments of memory, association, nostalgia, legend and outright myth that had been the devices of Western European Painting.” (NewMann1950For Rothko, his glowing, soft edged rectangles of radiant colour are there to provoke viewers in a would-be like religious experience, even provoking emotion and some case tears. The Critics of Abstract Expressionism / Clement GreenbergClement Greenberg was without doubt the single most significant art critic of the twentieth century. Though he is most closely associated with his support for Abstract Expressionism, and Jackson Pollock, his valuations shaped the work of many other artists, including Helen Frankenthaler, Morris Louis, and Kenneth Noland. His main consideration focused on the official properties of art, colour, line, and space. Greenberg’s severe method of criticism, and his understanding of the growth of modern art, although not without challenge, have significantly inclined generations of critics and historians. (Greenberg 1971) articleKey Ideas / of Greenberg on Abstract ExpressionsmClement Greenberg presented a wealth of ideas into the conversation of twentieth century art, expanding and refining notions such as “kitsch,” the “easel picture,” and pictorial “flatness,” and formulating perceptions such as that of the “all over” paint surface and “visual space”. Strongly associated with his support for Abstract Expressionism, Greenberg avidly believed in the obligation of abstract art to resist the interference of politics and commerce into art. Although he advocated what is often regarded as avant-garde art, Greenberg saw modern art as an unfolding ritual and by the end of his career, he found himself criticising what many others saw as avant-garde art, Pop and Neo-Dada as against the ethics he held dear in previous modern art. (GreenBerg,1971)Greenbergs Thoughts On abstract expressionism the MovementGreenberg’s exhaustive reply to the display of Abstract Expressionism can be found in one of his most important essays, “‘American-Type’ Painting” (1955).In some compliments, “‘American-Type’ Painting” was activated by Greenberg’s desire to counter the increasing acceptance of the ideas that Harold Rosenberg had launched with “The American Action Painters” (1952). (ReF) The essay suggests one of Greenberg’s essential announcements about the growth of modern art. It tackles the expansion of Abstract Expressionism; it resists the radicalism of Colour Field Painting, concerning it to Impressionism rather than Cubism; and reasons that modern art advanced while pursuing even more so greater symbolic flatness. (Greenberg, 1955)Greenberg greatly documented abstraction as a distinctive surface of contemporary painting, for if art was to be justly modern, each medium had to follow a process of clarification, which would unravel it from other, related mediums. Indeed, it was progressively important exterior of modern painting, since art was being threatened by the interference of clichés, philosophy, and commerce. Figurative art, and the sorts of circumstantial subjects that were common of American painting in the 1930s, were, for Greenberg, typical of the kind of unrelated, ‘literary’ material, which needed to be omitted from painting. The goal was an abstraction, which referred to painting itself, and renounced any orientation to the external world – for Greenberg, this would be epitomised by the drip paintings of Jackson Pollock. (Anfmann, 2008) As the 1950s continued, Greenberg began to feel that the gestural abstraction which had branded the pioneering work of de Kooning and others in the late 1940s was beginning to degenerate into a school or a manner, what he labelled “the Tenth Street touch,” after the area in New York where the painters gathered. This led him to place more status on the work of colour field painters, who he argued were pursuing a more fundamental deconstruction of the traditional easel picture. He first particularised these ideas in his essay “American-Type Painting,” and pushed them further in “After Abstract Expressionism,” and in the introduction to an exhibition he curated in 1964, ref for this Post-painterly Abstraction.(Greenberg,1951.)Broad Groups within Abstract Expressionism / Colour field / Action PaintingWithin Abstract Expressionism, there were two main broad groups: the so-called action painters, who attacked their canvases with expressive brush strokes; and the colour field painters who would fill their canvases with large areas and sections of a single colour.The action painters were greatly led by Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning, who worked in an impulsive spontaneous method often using large brushes to make extensive gestural, marks. Pollock famously placed his canvas on the ground and danced round it by pouring paint from the can or dripping it from the brush or a stick. In this way, the action painters directly placed their inner desires across the canvas. (Anfmann,2017)The second grouping included Mark Rothko, Barnett Newman and Clyfford Still. They were intensely concerned in religion and myth and created simple compositions with large areas of colour proposed to produce a reflective or meditational response within each viewer. In an essay written in 1948, Barnett Newman said:            ‘Instead of creating cathedrals out of Christ, man, or ”life”, we are making it out of           ourselves, out of our own feelings’. This approach to painting developed from around 1960 into what became known as colour field painting, characterised by artists using large areas of a single flat colour. (Tempkin, 2010), (Newmann 1950)Abstract expressionism: How it changed the Face of Art When discussing abstract expressionism, you are not really speaking about a reliable tendency but about an assortment of people who broke into their own voice or their own method. Under similar situations and at roughly the same time this happened for each artist. Though having these similar influences, the art transpired differently in each case. They were trying to recover what was for them a very disastrous landscape and time. There was this sense that the exact self -needs to find some way of relating to the world and to others in a new way. They all developed this highly narrative signature style and I think these artists, for all their differences, have many important properties that do bind them together. Through scale you could be in the painting developing an all over Composition.