Styles & Techniques
I refer to myself as an Abstract Expressionist painter as I relate to and embrace those artists who originally developed this style of painting. To me, I am creating from my emotions using color, line, light and texture. My work embraces diverse, overlapping sources and inspirations. I employ many of the different attributes, styles or techniques of the expressionists and impressionists. Directness of expression is paramount. I study the works of other artists intently and enrich myself with other artists risks.
“My work is driven by an inward passion. I simply have to create. The core of my art practice is to let out the emotions that keep tumbling thru me. I have so much joy, pain or angst in my life I have to let it out.”
"What makes good art is when you see a piece from across the room, you immediately have to look at it closer or study it. You fall in love with it without knowing anything about it and are in love with it forever. It is original. It has gravitas and is a feast for the senses. I think that great art either causes a viewer to think or to feel. Wonderful art touches the mind, heart or soul of the viewer." Cheryl Johnson
Definition and Meaning - Abstract: rich abstract paintings that appeal to the senses.
The term 'abstract art' - also called "non-objective", "non-figurative", "non-representational", "geometric abstraction", abstract art may be detached from reality often devoid of any reference to the natural world. Abstract art is a style of art where there is no definite image of what the artist is depicting but rather gives an illusion of the perceived reality. It is often drawn simply or can be exaggerated depending on what the artist want to show. What makes abstract art great is the fact that it is independent by nature. Wassily Kandinsky was considered the "father of abstract art".
Abstract Expressionism vs Abstract Impressionism
Abstract Impressionism is a form of abstract painting in which artists use colors instead of object representations in their artworks. In this movement, artists commonly use soft brush strokes to build large areas. Their ultimate goal was to express wisdom, mental focus, and inner emotions. Abstract Impressionism became popular in the 1950s. It was Elaine de Kooning who coined the term ‘Abstract Impressionism’.
Abstract Expressionism is different from Abstract Impressionism due to their dissimilarity in approach. Abstract Expressionism uses large and broad brushstrokes while those of Abstract Impressionism’s are short and intense. The brushstrokes of the former lean towards the works of Money, Seurat, and Van Gogh. Those of Abstract Impressionism, on the other hand, were more of Milton Resnick and Sam Francis.
Abstract Expressionism is a post–World War II art movement in American painting, developed in New York in the 1940s. It was the first specifically American movement to achieve international influence and put New York City at the center of the western art world, a role formerly filled by Paris. Although the term abstract expressionism was first applied to American art in 1946 by the art critic Robert Coates, it had been first used in Germany in 1919 in the magazine Der Sturm, regarding German Expressionism. In the United States, Alfred Barr was the first to use this term in 1929 in relation to works by Wassily Kandinsky.
Abstract impressionism (closely related to lyrical abstraction) is a type of abstract painting (not to be confused with abstract expressionism) where small brushstrokes or application with a palette knife build and structure larger surface areas. The artist's emotion and focus on inner energy, and sometimes contemplation, create expressive, lyrical and thoughtful qualities in the paintings. The brushstrokes are similar to those of impressionists such as Monet and post-impressionists such as van Gogh and Seurat, only tending toward abstraction. While in the action painting style of abstract expressionism brushstrokes were often large and bold and paint was applied in a rapid outpouring of emotion and energy, the Abstract Impressionist's short and intense brushstrokes or non-traditional application of paints and textures is often done slowly and with purpose, using the passage of time as an asset and a technique. Milton Resnick, Sam Francis, Richard Pousette-Dart, and Philip Guston were notable abstract impressionist painters during the 1950s. Paul Jackson Pollock (January 28, 1912 – August 11, 1956), known as Jackson Pollock, was a major figure in the abstract expressionist movement, and Canadian artist Jean-Paul Riopelle helped introduce Lyrical abstraction to Paris in the early 1950s.
Elaine de Kooning coined the term "abstract impressionism" and it was soon used by critic Louis Finkelstein in an attempt to distinguish for Philip Guston the difference between the two forms. The primary difference is in approach. The similarity between the two forms, however, is in the final outcome – what is acceptable as a finished piece."
Expressionism is the art of the emotive. It is a type of art provoked by the consciousness of the tensions and forces that surround modern humankind. Expressionism describes the paintings where an artist’s strong emotions were clearly depicted. Expressionism is defined as an artistic style wherein the artist doesn’t depict objective reality in his works. Rather, he attaches his own emotions and personal responses to them. This is normally achieved through exaggeration, distortion, fantasy, and primitivism, or by the use of vivid, violent, jarring, or dynamic representation of formal elements.2
The main characteristic of this movement, which is the short and intense brushstrokes and non-traditional application of textures and paints, were all done with purpose and in a slow and steady manner. As a matter of fact, the passage of time is regarded as a strong asset to the execution of the technique.
What is the Idea Behind Abstract Art?
Abstract paintings can be appreciated for its line and colour alone - it doesn't need to depict a natural object or scene.
Curvilinear Abstract Art
Curvilinear abstraction is strongly associated with abstract motifs including interlace patterns, and spirals much more intricate and sophisticated in the process.
Colour Field or Light-Related Abstract Art
This type is exemplified in works by Turner and Monet, that use colour (or light) in such a way as to detach the work of art from reality, as the object dissolves in a swirl of pigment. Kandinsky's expressionist pictures and Frank Kupka works are some of the first highly coloured abstract paintings. Colour Field Painting, developed by Mark Rothko, Barnett Newman and Helen Frankenthaler. Organic Abstraction (also called Biomorphic abstraction) and Surrealism. Arguably, the most celebrated painter specializing in this type of art was the Russian-born Mark Rothko - see: Mark Rothko's Paintings (1938-70). Other examples include canvases by Kandinsky.First coined by the Dutch artist and designer Theo Van Doesburg (1883-1931), the term "concrete art" refers to any type of abstract art which has no figurative or symbolic references. Thus an abstract painting whose motifs or shapes are evidently derived from any natural elements, would not be considered concrete art: the picture must be wholly devoid of any naturalistic associations. As a result, most concrete art is based on geometric imagery and patterns, and is often called geometric abstraction.
The term was originally coined by Larry Aldrich; other sources sustain that it was Jean José Marchand and Georges Mathieu who first used the term Abstraction Lyrique in 1947 in Paris. The name “Tachisme” is sometimes used to describe this movement. Lyrical paintings move away from the geometric, hard-edge, and minimal, toward more lyrical, sensuous, romantic abstractions in colors which were softer and more vibrant The artists touch is always visible in this type of painting, even when the paintings are done with spray guns, sponges or other objects.
This type of intellectual abstract art emerged from about 1908 onwards. An early rudimentary form was Cubism, specifically analytical Cubism - which rejected linear perspective and the illusion of spatial depth in a painting, in order to focus on its 2-D aspects. Geometric Abstraction is also known as Concrete Art and Non-Objective Art. As you might expect, it is characterized by non-naturalistic imagery, typically geometrical shapes such as circles, squares, triangles, rectangles, and so forth. In a sense - by containing absolutely no reference to, or association with, the natural world - it is the purest form of abstraction. One might say that concrete art is to abstraction, what veganism is to vegetarianism. Geometrical abstraction is exemplified by Black Circle (1913, State Russian Museum, St Petersburg) painted by Kasimir Malevich (1878-1935) (founder of Suprematism); Broadway Boogie-Woogie (1942, MoMA, New York) by Piet Mondrian (1872-1944) (founder of Neo-Plasticism); and Composition VIII (The Cow) (1918, MoMA, New York) by Theo Van Doesburg (1883-1931) (founder of De Stijl and Elementarism). Other examples include the Homage to the Square pictures by Josef Albers (1888-1976), and Op-Art originated by Victor Vasarely (1906-1997).
Emotional or Intuitional Abstract Art
This type of intuitional art embraces a mix of styles, whose common theme is a naturalistic tendency. This naturalism is visible in the type of shapes and colours employed. Unlike Geometric Abstraction, which is almost anti-nature, intuitional abstraction often evokes nature, but in less representational ways. Two important sources for this type of abstract art are: Organic Abstraction (also called Biomorphic abstraction) and Surrealism. Arguably, the most celebrated painter specializing in this type of art was the Russian-born Mark Rothko - see: Mark Rothko's Paintings (1938-70). Other examples include canvases by Kandinsky like Composition No.4 (1911, Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen), and Composition VII (1913, Tretyakov Gallery); the typical Teller, Gabel und Nabel (1923, Private Collection) by Jean Arp (1887-1966), Woman (1934, Private Collection) by Joan Miro (1893-1983), Inscape: Psychological Morphology no 104 (1939, Private Collection) by Matta (1911-2002); and Infinite Divisibility (1942, Allbright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo) by Yves Tanguy (1900-55). In sculpture, this type of abstraction is exemplified by The Kiss (1907, Kunsthalle, Hamburg) by Constantin Brancusi (1876-1957); Mother and Child (1934, Tate) by Barbara Hepworth(1903-1975); Giant Pip(1937, Musee National d'Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou) by Jean Arp; Three Standing Figures (1953, Guggenheim Museum, Venice) by Henry Moore (1898-1986).
Gestural Abstract Art
This is a form of abstract expressionism, where the process of making the painting becomes more important than usual. Paint may be applied in unusual ways, brushwork is often very loose, and rapid. Famous American exponents of gestural painting include Jackson Pollock (1912-56), the inventor of Action-Painting, and his wife Lee Krasner (1908-84) who inspired him with her own form of drip-painting; Willem de Kooning (1904-97), famous for his Woman series of works; and Robert Motherwell (1912-56), noted for his Elegy to the Spanish Republic series. In Europe, this form is exemplified by Tachisme, as well as by the Cobra Group, notably Karel Appel (1921-2006). One of my favorite artists, Joan Mitchell. "During the almost 50 years of her painting life, as Abstract Expressionism was eclipsed by successive styles, Mitchell’s commitment to the tenets of gestural abstraction remained firm and uncompromising. Summing up her achievement, Klaus Kertess wrote, “She transformed the gestural painterliness of Abstract Expressionism into a vocabulary so completely her own that it could become ours as well."
Minimalist Abstract Art
This type of abstraction was a back-to-basics sort of avant-garde art, stripped of all external references and associations. It is what you see - nothing else. It often takes a geometrical form, and is dominated by sculptors, although it also includes some great painters. For more information on minimalist art, see below ("Postmodernist Abstraction").