American Abstract Art Essay example

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Abstract Expressionism is considered a triumph in American Painting. It is still the most discussed and debated form of twentieth century American art, and still influences generations of artists. It used the cultural references of the tragic, the unconscious, the sublime and the primitive to create a unique and evocative style of painting that was unique in the art world.

Though some may view Abstract Expressionism and Surrealism as similar, the thing that made it fundamentally different, according to Motherwell, was that the artists worked more `directly' and `violently' and on a `much larger scale physically than the surrealists ever had.' (Page 40, David and Cecil) It also seems important to Motherwell to have a style that
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That a painting could be read in this way reveals its sublime aura.

Rothko saw the `clouds of colour' in his paintings as abstract `performers possessing tragic or ethereal demeanours.' (Page 23, Hopkins) The size of the paintings functioned as a representation of scale. Viewers could measure themselves against the coloured blocks. `This could lead to the feeling of being enveloped or transported out of the body,' (Page 23, Hopkins) Frank O'Hara also considered scale important in Pollock's paintings, because of the `emotional effect of the painting upon the spectator.' (Page 28, O'Hara) `Blue Poles', by Pollock is seven feet high and some sixteen feet across. Robertson describes it as a `world self contained and utterly convincing which the spectator should be flexible to enter, explore and move about in.' (Page 29, Robertson)

Gottlieb and Rothko were inspired by primitive and archaic art, but removed any symbols from their original context, making their connotations inaccessible to the general public. The viewer could not tell what these symbols meant to the artist by simply viewing the painting, but this was perhaps not their intention. The artists themselves viewed their work as a `poetic expression of the essence of the myth.' (Page 10, David and Cecil) Primitive mythology often inspired the Abstract Expressionist's painting, including

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