When Does Abstract Expressionism Blend with Action Painting?

The point of Elkins (2003) chapter "intuitive stories" is exploration of time and historical art periods. This leads to the investigation of Chinese art and history, on this investigation the artist's diagram suggests that Chinese tradition in art is to take one old period and combine with a new period, the artist puts forward an idea of a western artist may combine Rome with Roman ideas in the Renaissance.

On the other hand, another perspective is by an American undergraduate art student.

In his diagram, he sees the middle path as surrealism, he thought it seemed "right there" with the other times it seems "far away and incomprehensible." His reflection is that of a widespread thought that was also part of the original French Surrealist movement which started in the 1920's and finally began to end in the 1940's, is thought to be still a part of us, but in unexpected means and ways. Art historians experience the same idea.

This is to consider how the art periods should be arranged.

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There is no fixed number of periods. This depends on how much detail you want to go in with the number of permutations, with that the number of modern "isms" you can make your list as long as you can fit on a piece of paper. This has been explored by Alfred Barr, he has been labelled as a compulsive lister and to manage these so-called isms, while he was doing this, he seemed to create some of these isms. These isms were placed into the main movements.

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The possibilities with the ability to go to extreme lengths, to either list names excessively which is what Barr did or having the idea to place all periods under one or two big headings. To think that art is one and the same to you and the fact that periods do not matter, this means you are a monist in which you cannot distinguish between two or more subjects, with that the opposite being an atomist is when you think that everything is worthy of being written down. Most art historians would behave like atomists, they would explore every avenue of an artist and their works. However, they would teach in a way that would make them seem like moderate monists.

However, in the book "Pop Art and the origins of Post-Modernism" is where the writers are trying to explore the way people identify with American pop art, where this is an expression of the art movement post-modernism.

The most prominent idea is the thought of being anonymous which means there is no presence or identity. The idea of the "minimal" in which this could transform the source materials and obscure the underlying message.

Pop art seems to connect with code, subject and technical process of communication, also represents "culture" whereas it could have responded to "nature."

Throughout the book they deconstruct what pop art is and how that relates to post-modernism.

Doerner in his book "The Materials of the artist" explores the techniques and methods of practise in a similar way to Elkins however it is only from one perspective rather than multiple. The book also goes into detail about the materials themselves with the combination of techniques. It explains priming canvas and grounds.

Another technique that is thoroughly explained is the preparation of wood, paper, pasteboard and metals for painting. The next topic is pigments, colours of plant or animal origin are to be differentiated against inorganic pigments. The pigments are made from chemicals which painters do object to. The purity of the pigment is very important to painters.

The next book is "Abstract Expressionism" which is one of the major art movements, it came out of the end of the second world war as a response to the uncertainty of what happens next.

The artists that link to this movement are Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko and Williem De Kooning. The Abstract Expressionism movement would possibly never find the audience that enjoys Impressionism. So, people find it too serious, rather strange and in particular extreme, this is looked at rather like Cubism.

It was looked originally as a wave of acting out, this began to seem as a destructive force with a hint of chaos. This is a reaction against the system and the politics at time.

Here's a question when does abstract expressionism blend with action painting?

In the book "the cubist painters" they explain the purity in the painting and its blend with nature. It explains how some artists become rich with money and the others rich with life.

The way that it explains how new painters decide to have limitations with no real subjects in their works. The cubist painters see works that explain themselves with terms such as portrait, landscape and still life. The young painters use a general title painting, they still look at nature however this is not the subject of their work.

The writer Elizabeth Frank in the book "Pollock" states that "the audience that viewed Pollock's work could not understand what his technique which was dripping, pouring and splattering the paint, they could not seem to grasp why is it was called art." Frank in her opinion places pollock in the foreground of abstract expressionism. She also adds that she is unable to see in Pollock's work more than a visual aesthetic which is then in turn an experience by the viewing public. Pollock manifests the idea of synthesis of impressionism, cubism and surrealism. There is an exploration of expression that combines with Pollock's persistent use of marks that his technique evokes.

The answer to the earlier posed question is Jackson Pollock and that again is in his technique of working on large scale canvas and literally throwing himself on to the canvas. There is a quote from Pollock that relates to his use of technique which is "I don't paint from a drawing; I paint from myself" which allows him to express himself to the full extent which gives him a style.


  • Elkins, J. (2002) "stories of art" London Routluge Harrison, S. (2001). Pop art and the origins of post-modernism. 1st ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, p.1.
  • Doerner, M. (1976). Materials of the artist and their use in painting ... 4th ed Hart-Davis, pp.33, 45.
  • Anfam, D. (1994). Abstract expressionism. 2nd ed. New York, N.Y.: Thames and Hudson, p.7.
  • Apollinaire, G. and Abel, L. (1962). The cubist painters. 3rd ed. New York: G. Wittenborn, pp.10, 11, 12.
  • Frank, E. (1983). Pollock, Modern Masters. 1st ed. Abbevile Press Publishers, p.7.
Updated: May 19, 2021
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When Does Abstract Expressionism Blend with Action Painting?. (2019, Nov 28). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/when-does-abstract-expressionism-blend-with-action-painting-essay

When Does Abstract Expressionism Blend with Action Painting? essay
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