‘With us the disguise must be complete. The familiar identity of things has to be pulverized in order to destroy the finite associations with which our society increasingly enshrouds every aspect of our environment.’ [Mark Rothko]
– Ross. C. ed. (1990) Abstract Expressionism, Creators and Critics New York, United States: Abrams Publishers, p. 168
Abstract Expressionism evolved through the work of each individual artist. Generally speaking, each artist arrived at this free-wheeling style by the end of the 1940s and continued in the same manner to the end of his or her life. The style has remained alive well into the current century through its youngest practitioners.
Unnamed – Rothko
The general characteristics of Abstract Expressionism are the following:
Unconventional application of paint, usually without a recognizable subject that tends toward amorphous shapes in brilliant colours.
Dripping, smearing, slathering, and flinging lots of paint on to the canvas (often on an unprimed canvas).
Sometimes gestural writing in a loosely calligraphic manner.
Carefully filling the picture plane with zones of colour that create tension between the shapes and hues (especially in the case of Colour Field artists).
“There is no abstract art. You must always start with something. Afterward you can remove all traces of reality.” – Pablo Picasso