ABSTRACT EXPRESSIONISM, A BRIEF REFERENCE

“Only we agree that we are different”

This was the unwritten slogan of the New Yorker group dispersed artists of the 40’s and 50 generally qualified as abstract expressionists, or first generation of New York School.

Its source is more important in art and theories of Gauguin and his circle, and evolves from Matisse’s Fauvism to Abstract Expressionism Kandinsky painting pre-war.

It is an intuitive and emotional tradition rather than intellectual,  prefer organic and biomorphic forms to geometric, curved lines to straight lines, the decorative nature to structural.

His interest in the mystical, irrational and spontaneity talks about his romantic character.

Let’s talk about two of these masterpieces:

First of all “Full Fathom Five”, painted by Jackson Pollock

In the winter between 1946 and 1947 Pollock introduced a turning point in his work: abandoned traditional easel painting and began work on cloth spread on the ground. Pollock knew the technique of “dripping” in 1936, in the experimental workshop Mexican artist Alvaro Siqueiros.

Pollock described his painting process thoroughly in a paper to the journal “possibilities”, whose only issue appeared in the winter. “My painting does not come from the easel. Hardly extend the canvas before painting. Rather stick it to the wall studs or floor hard without extending. Need the resistance of a hard surface. On the floor I feel better. I feel closer box, am part of it, because I can move around, work it from all four sides and literally be in the works a method similar to Indian sand painters of the West. “Instead of traditional instruments such as easel, palette and brush, Pollock used to the techniques of dripping and pouring sticks, spatulas, knives or containers with leaking or spilling paint on the canvas without touching it directly. Sometimes paint mixed with other materials such as sand or pieces of glass.

The mesh of the upper layers of paint conceals a figure made ​​with lead paint. Objects on the table, eg key or button, folks are placed in relation to the hidden figure.

Pollock so named in honour of his work “The Tempest” by Shakespeare

Five fathoms here

Lies the body of your father

And his bones are coral, pearl eyes

Nothing he has dispersed

All he has transformed into sea

And it’s all beautiful, and it’s all strange

The second masterpiece is Ochre and red on red, painted by Mark Rothko.

Mark Rothko conceived in 1949 its characteristic horizontal arrangement of colour fields on a monochrome background, which persisted until the end.

The same would explain his decision to paint large format for a symposium: “I paint large pictures. Aware that, historically painting large pictures is to do something grand and ostentatious. Yet deep reason for this is my desire to be very intimate and human. Perform a small piece is placed outside of the experience, is to look at the experience as a stereotyped image through a lens or diminutive. But to paint a large box is inside, not something that is can have no more.

Rothko personally fixed the conditions of submission of his paintings: how to group them, hang them and enlighten. Your deep sensitivity required a deep relationship with their curators and collectors

in their efforts to trap light inside surfaces formed by layers, Rothko applied first a binder with pigment directly onto uncoated and untreated canvas in layers of oil paint so relieved that had the consistency of watercolour, overlaying a layer directly above the other. When the fugitive pigments suspended in a medium made ​​of egg yolk (a special recipe created by the own Rothko) filtered through dilute layers, one on the surface appeared whitish image.

“A picture comes to life in the presence of a sensitive viewer, whose consciousness develops and grows. However, the reaction of the viewer can be lethal. Hence the fact bring a picture to the world constitutes a risky and cruel audacity. How often suffer permanent damage because of the eyes of the common people or the cruelty of the impotent, that what they want most is to bring unhappiness to everything else?”

Mark Rothko.

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