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Blue Beach Art History III 4/17/13

Writing Assignment Chapter 25

1. Define/explain and give examples of the two main processes of Abstract Expressionism, gestural abstraction and chromatic abstraction. This type of painting is also known as action painting. Gestural abstraction is a kind of abstract painting in which the gesture involved in constructing the work, or the very act of painting, is seen as the subject of art. This type of works most renowned proponent/exhibitor was Jackson Pollock. There are even extant films that were made of Jackson while he worked that exhibit the gestural style in progress. The motion that is involved in the process of creating art is like a dance and is clearly visible/imaginable in the works produced. The second type of Abstract Expressionism is chromatic abstraction and this type of abstract was focused on the innate expression of color itself. According to chromatic is described thus: "A kind of Abstract Expressionism that focused on the emotional resonance of color, as exemplified by the work of Barnett Newman and Mark Rothko." This type of abstraction harkens back to the Fauvists and Pointalists in the sense that those movements both focused on the interplay of color. Art does and should build upon itself.

2. Choose two artworks in your chapter and compare/contrast gestural and chromatic abstraction.

The two works I chose to compare/contrast are Willem De Koonings "Woman I" and Mark Rothko's "No. 14". I chose the DeKooning because I didn't want to make an obvious decision and go with Jackson Pollock. DeKooning being a lesser known artist in the genre is interesting to me in the fact that while he gives us an decipherable image, a woman, the strokes and interplay of color obviate the gestural style. One can nearly see the wild sweeping "paint dance" that DeKooning must have engaged in whilst constructing this beautiful opus. Even the foreground and background colorizations demonstrate a constant, manic intertwining of direction, brush stroke and freedom. I chose the Rothko because I have had the great pleasure of seeing quite a number of his works in person. I worked for a company in Corpus Christi named "Stripes", it is a convenience store conglomeration, but at the headquarters they actually have 3 or 4 Rothko's dotting the hallways! I spent more time than my superiors would have endulged I'm sure, taking in the emotive qualities of these works. The ones I had the pleasure of seeing, while to some similar, give one a wide variety of emotion. They ranged from serene to disturbing and this is the essence and beauty of the style. No. 14, is one of those examples that leaves one with a feeling of vague contemplation, hope and peace. Rothko utilized complementary colorization in a simple box like pattern, but even in this simplistic form

the gentle, quiet interplay of the colors inate qualities comes through. This leaves us with the "spiritual" experience which was the deeper perspective that Rothko sought to express. 3. Discuss what the Abstract Expressionists were expressing through their work and how their work relates to the formalism of Clement Greenberg. We have seen that gestural abstractionists like Pollock and DeKooning were expressing the gesture utilized in the process of making art. Also, we discussed the fact that chromatic abstract artists like Rothko and Barnett Newman used colors and their interplay to express emotion and spirituality. The work of these artists opened the door for the Post-Painterly Abstractionists that were in the vein of Clement Greenberg, who coined the term. Without the abstract works that preceeded the post painterly abstract movement there would have been no abstract works to analyze and therefore are the foundations on which Greenberg built. It is a matter of opinion if the analyzing, calculating and attempt to remove the "hand" of the artist was a positive or negative evolution. Chromatic and gestural abstraction were true innovations because they were creations of a sort that previously had never existed. P.P.A., the creation of Greenberg is merely an adaption upon an existant form and therefore nothing more than a modification of an already created style. Big

difference in doing something that has never been done and simply modifying something already created.