Post World War II Art Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Artists Since 1945

What are the influences and events that caused Abstract Expressionism to develop? What are the two modes of Abstract Expressionism? Compare and contrast these two modes and specially discuss the work of two artists from each mode. Share why you chose these four artist.

During and after World War II, artistic expression was destroyed in Europe. This is because, the onslaught of the Nazis created an environment of persecution. In some cases, these activities were based upon artists using their expressionism as a form of criticisms and social critiques. While at other times; a host of individuals were persecuted because of their race or nationality. The result is that they fled to locations such as New York to be able to continue with their work. This played a major role in determining how Abstract Expressionism developed by taking a different approach that questioned and challenged the status quo. These shifts occurred in locations where there was a sense of openness and creativity. (Adams)

Moreover, European artists after World War I became interested in Abstract Expressionism to discuss unique ways of representing colors and depicting ideas differently. In Germany this became a form of German Expressionism in 1919. It focused on creating overlapping sources and inspiration. These basic concepts were to discuss new ideas about contemporary society and the views of the individual artist. (Adams)

As a result, two different forms of Abstract Expressionism developed. This occurred with the creation of color field and action painting. Color field painting is when there is focus on the contrast and color. It involves utilizing horizontal techniques in conjunction with vertical lines dividing the canvas into various sections or fields. Action painters are when different streaks and overlapping lines are used. At the same time, various layers will create rigid and contrasting edges. These modes are different from each other with color painting using a single layer and utilizing distinct vertical and horizontal techniques. Whereas, action painting is when the artist will combine their fields utilizing various layers to have an influence on the way the images is presented. This creates different ridges and unique edges to add to the texture of the work. (Adams)

Two color painting artists include: Jackson Pollack and Willem de Kooning. Jackson Pollack was someone who focused on purity. This meant that he would reveal truthfulness in his works. The basic idea was to provide a sense of purity which is combined with a two dimensional flatness. This is achieved using a water based acrylic combined with an unprimed canvas. His main focusing was questioning the rise of totalitarian regimes before and after World War II. The most notable works include: Mural and The She Wolf. William de Kooning concentrated on placing order in conjunction with nature. This serves as a reflection of society and what it represents. He painted by taking a realist view about specific things and persons. Then, they were incorporated into t a larger canvas. Some of his most notable works include: Woman III, Black Friday and Zurich. (Adams)

Two action painting artists include: James Brooks and Sam Francis. James Brooks was focused on painting large abstracts. His objectives were to uncover the hidden meaning in someone's individual personality. This was accomplished by utilizing rough edges in contrast with various color schemes. A few of his most notable works include: Boon and Flight. Sam Francis emphasized realistic images utilizing a combination of colors and surfaces. The basic idea was to encourage the person to think creatively about themselves and what the images meant to them. Two of his best works include: Blue Balls and Black and Red. These different artists were chosen based upon how the represented abstract expressionism and their interpretations of contemporary society. (Adams)

What are the key points Clement Greenberg made in his essay, "Modernist Painting"? How did he arrive at his conclusions regarding art painting? Which philosopher was an influence on his thinking and why? Do you feel he is correct in his views? Please explain your point-of-view.

In Modernist Painting, Greenberg is showing how Abstract Expressionism is taking the ideas from previous influences in the 17th and 18th century by building upon them. This is achieved through demonstrating how these factors had an effect on religion / political views and scientific method. Religion and political views were important to Greenberg. He wanted to provide a way of criticizing the social and totalitarian structure of Communist / Fascist regimes. At the same time, there was a method of incorporating the use of colors and textures to create a unique interpretation of various events. The modernist is someone who is taking the influences of the past and is utilizing new ideas to shape the way their different works are analyzed and viewed. (Adams)

These conclusions were arrived at by seeing the impact of various events (i.e. World War II and the post war environment) on the way various canvases were created. This shaped how the artist looked at themselves, the world around them and the underlying message they were sending to the individual. The combination of these factors, is telling a larger story by observing and creating a unique platform. This is designed to illustrate specific factors which are shaping these ideas. (Adams)

Greenberg arrived at his conclusions based upon looking at the way this form of art was developed and the lasting influences on stakeholders. They are from the experiences he seen and witnessed in the buildup and aftermath of World War II. At the same time, he believed that this form of expression was challenged by totalitarian regimes through questioning why someone became involved in supporting various polices and ideologies. (Adams)

Kant is the primary philosopher who had the greatest influence on him. This is because the methodology that was utilized offered a different direction and new way of looking the world. At the same time, Greenberg looked at the shifts in the art world and what techniques were the most dominant. This supported the idea that art was changing based upon teleological influences. (Adams)

Evidence of this can be seen with Greenberg saying, "The first mark made on the canvas destroys its virtual flatness purity seems to imply a historical rejection of representation and a validation of abstraction." This is illustrating how Greenberg was influence by Kantian theory and the way it was applied to modern art. The flatness represents the new ideas and how these transformations are taking place by utilizing new techniques in conjunction with the ideology and personal beliefs of the artist. (Adams)

As a result, his views are correct. This is from him demonstrating how Abstract Expressionism was abandoning some of the ideas of the Renaissance period. Instead, techniques from the Age of Enlightenment were combined with personal beliefs to shape the message of the artist. This is serving as a critique of contemporary ideas and the influences they are having on stakeholders in the process. Kant is the one individual, Greenberg connected with and it offered a better understanding of what happened in his life. The result is that this shaped his interpretations of these works and their influence on contemporary thinking. (Adams)

What is Existentialism and why is it a dominant theme among Post-War European artists? Choose four different movements/types of Post-War Art and describe each. Mention how Existentialism may relate to each of these groups. Give an example of one artist from each group and briefly characterize their work. Lastly, compare and contrast Abstract Expressionism with Post-War European Art. Overall, do you prefer the American Art of European Art? Why?

Existentialism is when there was a focus on the subjective experience, personal character and freedom of the individual to express themselves. It emphasized the person's experiences to shape how they look at the world around them and the way they represented these ideas in their work. After the end of World War II, many European artists embraced these ideas as form of discussing what happened in their lives and the lasting effect it had on them. This was a way of talking about these events and how they shaped their perceptions of themselves and others. (Adams)

The four different forms of existentialism include: existence precedes the essence, the absurd, facticity and authenticity. The existence precedes the essence, is when the most important consideration is the individual. These are independent and responsible people who are conscious of their existence. The basic idea is to study the person vs. what role, definitions, labels, stereotypes and categories they belong to. The absurd is studying the meaning in the world beyond what someone gives. This focuses on the ideas of morality and equality. (Adams)

Facticity is examining the relationship between various dimensions of someone's past and how this influences how they see who are. Authenticity emphasizes the idea that an individual has a responsibility to create themselves and their environment. This occurs through using their freewill to influence their choices by taking responsibility for their actions. These different groups are related by showing…

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