Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Spring Sketches - Field Painting

I decided to do some sketches of crocuses, the harbingers of spring, although it still feels more like winter.  I used Acrylic on acrylic paper 40 x 30.  I had been reading about the "field effect" which Jackson Pollock was beginning to achieve, adopted by Willem De Kooning and and later developed by the minimalists, including Mark Rothko, Clifford Still and Barnett Newman. 

These artists are also included under the banner of Abstract Expressionists.  The latter movement was conceived at a time when Existentialism was understood as a philososphy and artists perpetuated the idea of authenticity and free will, two tenets of the philosophical ideas of Jean Paul Sartre, through their gestural style of painting which enabled them to express inner feelings in a free and personal way. 

In an attempt to de-mystify these seemingly inward processes, artists turned to Pop art by re-introducing an element of realism in their work therefore subject matter appeared in pictures again. The work of Roy Lichtenstien, Andy Warhol, David Hockney amongst others created an immediacy and directness that was a reaction against earlier Abstract Expressionism. 

Since the 1960s a number of  various movements have appeared at an increasing rate, so much so that it is almost impossible to keep up with the changes and reactions to preceding ideas, hence the name Pluralism identifies the variety of ideas proliferating at this time. With the phrenetic pace of change in the art world, particularly in the United States, under the influence of Clement Greenberg the renowned art critic of the day, commercialism  started to have a stranglehold. Consumers sought the very latest style of art to decorate their walls.  During this period, the "flat" form covering a surface  became the quintessence of painting and through Ellsworth Kelly, who explored geometric shapes reflecting modern architecture, Hard Edge Painting developed.  These trends have been running parallel to the domination of "consumerism" in Western society, so much so that many artists have abandoned the idea of producing works of art that are easily purchased in favour of Conceptual Art,  Performance Art, and  Field Art  hence "installations" which cannot be bought and sold, although Damien Hurst seems to have bucked the trend, particularly with his Skull creation.


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