Motion as Colour

by Mihaela DULGHERU • 15 Jul 2017

Everybody loves art but not everybody understands it, or this is what we think so. There is no such thing as right or wrong in discovering the message that the artist left for us in his work of art. The key ingredient that you need is an open mind and a big imagination.

Picasso perceived this and his words were: “Everybody wants to understand art. Why not try to understand the song of a bird? People who try to explain pictures are usually barking up the wrong tree”.

Art is an adventure, a path that reveals in front of us and the secret of this journey is to allow yourself to be bewitched by the painting. Pay attention to the elements such as colour, shape, balance, depth, composition, and let your mind enjoy the freedom of discovering new fields and forms.

Abstract Expressionism developed as a kind of expression in a post-war era, defined as a phenomenon as diverse as its makers.The American movement originated from the creativity of the artists by designing a visual experience untraveled before. Almost all the artist that produced in that period were marked by the experience of the Great Depression. Their struggles encourage them in their commitment to creating an art based on personal experience.

Barnett Newman, Mark Rothko and Adolph Gottlieb in their brief “Manifesto” ( New York Times, June 13, 1943 ) declare:
“It is a widely accepted notion among painters that it does not matter what one paints as long as it is well painted. This is the essence of academism. There is no such thing as good painting about nothing. We assert that only that subject matter is valid which is tragic and timeless. That is why we profess spiritual kinship and archaic art.”

The truth is, abstract art is not “about nothing”, it is about the act of painting, the understanding of a piece of art comes from the inside rather than what it's being seen visually. If you’re looking for “content”, you’re not going to find any. Abstract art does not contain recognisable objects. The creation of a piece of art starts from emotion, a feeling, an experience. It is the excitement of the soul!

New York’s Museum of Modern Art organised in 1958 “The New American Painting”, an exhibition that presented some of the most recognised Abstract Expressionists. It toured to eight European cities, including London’s Tate Gallery in 1959. This was the last major collective exhibition devoted to the subject in the United Kingdom until now.

The Royal Academy of Arts is hosting the greatest exhibition ever assembled dedicated to the most significant movement of the twentieth century called “Abstract Expressionism”. This long-awaited exhibition reveals some of the most famous art of Pollock, de Kooning, Rothko, Still, Gorky, Smith, Newman, Mitchell and Francis, as well as photographers and lesser-known figures who contributed to the development of the movement.

Jackson Pollock was a prominent American painter who changed radical the direction in the art by introducing new methods in drawing and painting; he redefined the definition of surface, and he became famous thanks to his originality of inventing a new and vanguardist technique called “drip painting”. Pollock insisted on an element of control in his method, and he believed that the “drips” were self-expressive, rather than a random accumulation of paint.
His inspiration came from different sources, from the pleasure of listening to jazz while creating a painting, from the feeling of freedom, from a famous robbery ( a van filled with fake bills and cocaine covered with a tarpaulin through Panama to the United States ). The stolen “tarpaulin” is a Pollock painting that is worth more than the entire risky contraband cargo itself.

Jackson Pollock, Night Mist, 1945

Jackson Pollock, Blues Poles, 1952

William de Kooning is a Dutch-born painter who alternated between abstraction and the figure.
He is the most prominent and celebrated of the Abstract Expressionist painters. De Kooning’s success did not decrease his need for exploration and experimentation. In 1953, he shocked the art world by exhibiting a series of aggressively painted figural works, known as “Women” paintings.
While many of the painters develop in time their “signature style”, de Kooning’s enterprising spirit did not allow such limitation.
This highly sophisticated artist was awarded many honours during his lifetime, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1964. His works have been included in thousands of exhibitions; he was an exceptional artist who introduced novel art techniques, which made him among the most respected artists all over the world.

Willem de Kooning, Composition, 1955

Willem de Kooning, Woman, 1949

Mark Rothko was an American painter of Russian Jewish descendent. One of the prominent artists of his generation, during his career that lasted up to five decades, he created a new and impassioned form of abstract painting.

Rothko became famous particularly for his artworks that describe rectangles with luminous colours, which he intended to stimulate deep emotions. In these works, large-scale, open structure and thin layers of colour combine the convey the impression of a shallow pictorial space. The artist called his paintings “facades”, a word that captures their enigmatic hypnotism.

Mark Rothko, No. 15, 1957

Merk Rothko, Untitled, 1945

Although Abstract Expressionism is often considered rooted in New York City, its reach extended to the West Coast. Clyfford Still spend his early life in Washington State and Alberta, Canada until he moved to San Francisco in 1946.

Clyfford Still received the Award Medal for Painting in 1972 from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the Skowhegan Medal for Painting in 1975.

Clyfford Still, PH 247, 1951

Clyfford Still, PH 237, 1944

This is a small selection of the pieces of art that you can admire at the exhibition organised by the Royal Academy of Arts, but I assure you that the feeling and the emotions that the artists address it’s unique.

In my opinion, the social investment is one of the best ways to evolve and in the same time to discover yourself!






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