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Action Painting

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Action painting
Action painting
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Action Painting

  1. 1. McKensie Schepers Survey of Art History 2 2014 Action Painting: Is It Really Art?
  2. 2. Introduction action painting o noun. Also called tachism. A style of American abstract expressionist painting typified especially in the works of Jackson Pollack and Willem de Kooning in the 1940s, in which the furiously energetic and free application of the paint is seen as being expressive of the psychological and emotional state of the artist at the moment of creation.
  3. 3.  Action Painting is a category of Abstract expressionism that’s popularity began in the 1940’s and onward. These paintings are also called gestural abstraction. This style of painting emphasizes the process of making art with a variety of energetic techniques, some being; flinging, splattering, dripping, dabbing and smearing paint. The artists uses these techniques to explore a sense of control while interacting with random occurrences.  The term was coined by the American art critic Harold Rosenberg to describe the work of American Abstract Expressionists who utilized the method.  Abstract Imagists and Color Field painters made up the other major direction of paintings style in Abstract Expressionism. These painters had preconceived work instead of mostly completely random occurrences.  Action Paintings along with many other abstract styles come under critism as to whether or not it can be considered art. As you will see in this exhibition, these pieces are not simply random splatters that
  4. 4.  Joan Mitchell (1925-1992)  Ladybug  1957  Oil on Canvas  Museum of Modern Art, New York
  5. 5.  This piece is a good example of, ‘is this really art?’ It appears to the untrained eye to be a bunch of random strokes of random colors.  Joan managed to create energetic yet controlled rhythms with the brush strokes. She shows the relationship between figure and field seen in traditional paintings. She also uses a distinct palette against a neutral background to achieve this.
  6. 6.  Jackson Pollock (1912-1956)  Autumn Rhythm (Number 30)  1950  Oil on Canvas  Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
  7. 7.  Many people view Pollock’s work as simply chaotic.  Here in Autumn Rhythm (Number 30), he takes the viewer through his composition like a maze of complex paths that led to natural and biomorphic forms.  This painting contains a lot of energy in the way that the paint itself never leaves the edges of the canvas. There is a top and bottom just like any other traditional painting.
  8. 8.  Jean-Paul Riopelle (1923-2002)  Knight Watch  1953  Oil on Canvas  National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario
  9. 9.  At first glance, this painting looks like a mess of melted crayons or a sloppy mess made by a young child.  Riopelle used a technique of squeezing paint directly onto the canvass and then spreading it with a palette knife. The bright colors spread across the canvass in a vivid rainbow of smears connected by thin, spidery lines.
  10. 10.  Helen Frankenthaler (b.1928)  Mountains and Sea  1952  Oil and Charcoal on Canvas  National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC.
  11. 11.  This piece takes a different approach than the previous scene. This work is not nearly as chaotic, but still has a randomized feel to it.  Helen used thin washes of paint that soaked into the canvass instead of sitting heavily on top. This creates a more lyrical version of action painting. She used the process of pouring paint and then outlining in charcoal to form an image.
  12. 12.  Willem de Kooning (1904-1997)  Woman I  1950-1952  Oil on Canvas  Museum of Modern Art, New York
  13. 13.  This final piece takes another step away from those previously shown, in the fact that it is more figurative.  The painting, Woman I, was a process. Kooning started with a sketch then painted several layers on top of it. He would paint, then scrape it off, then paint again, forming the sporadic looking gestural piece.  He was one of the action painters that surprised the art world by moving away from pure abstraction.  Even though this painting may appear messy and simple to some, many hours of experimentation was put into it
  14. 14. Works Cited  The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica. "Action Painting (art)." Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica, n.d. Web. 08 May 2014.  Slifkin, R. "The Tragic Image: Action Painting Refigured." Oxford Art Journal 34.2 (2011): 227-46. Print.  Stokstad, Marilyn, and Michael Cothren. Art History. Boston: Pearson, 2013. Print.

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