Why artists oppose describing colour field as abstract art

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The Color Field school of painting began in the 1950s and has since attracted admirers from all over the globe, despite the fact that non-objective painting was created far earlier than the Abstract Expressionist movement. Some practitioners of the style opt for simple compositions that just emphasize color. Other Color Field artists elicit emotion via method and color psychology.

Dabs and color fields in Impressionist or Cubist artwork depicted actual objects. These pieces were abstractions of reality. Areas of blue or green in color field paintings don’t always represent the sky or grass. These hues may depict the colors themselves as well as their interactions with one another or the surface.

What is Color field painting?

One way to describe Color Field Painting is as an area of Abstract Expressionism. Other substitutions for the Color Field painting term include Post-Painterly Abstraction or Chromatic Abstraction. Large expanses of flat color were the sole element that Color Field painters of the 1950s and 1960s used to distinguish their work from other elements like figuration and subject matter.

In order to study the differences in monochromatic colors and the changes from one tone to another, Color Field artists employed subtlety and tranquility. ShaperoModern says color served as the focus for Color Field artists. Many of these paintings relied more on forces of nature, such gravity and time, than on the artist’s hand, with discrete tonal values and expansive, uninterrupted fields of color.

Paint was often laid, poured, stained, or dropped over the normally enormous canvases to create the pure, abstract shape. The physical characteristics of a picture were all that mattered to Color Field artists.

The History of Color Field Art

The color field movement sprang from nonrepresentational painting experiments, and while developing at a politically and socially turbulent time in American history—the mid-century—this style is distinctively apolitical. It is more about the inside world of the painting, the artist, and the observer than it is about the outside world.

A brief flirtation with Dadaism was followed by World War I, and then came Surrealism, which was basically about meaning and exploring the subconscious through biomorphic, psychic automatism. Despite their rejection of reality, surrealists like Max Ernst and Andre Breton nonetheless portrayed fantasy or dreamscapes in their works.

Figurative art was outmoded by this formal, non-objective, and condensed style of abstraction, which became the new aesthetic. But once the Nazis seized power in Germany, modernist artists were hounded as degenerates, and institutions like the Bauhaus were closed because they were seen to be racial mixing centers.

Abstraction centered around the United States

Many European intellectuals, writers, and artists sought exile in New York City as refugees during World War II. Modernism had become a common American phenomenon by the conclusion of the war. In New York, the seeds of Surrealism and European Abstraction came together to form the new movement known as Abstract Expressionism.

In their eyes, painting is a transcendental activity that calls for unrestrained expression. They hurled paint, dripped paint, or assaulted the canvas in this crucial portion of their work. The centerpiece of New York School painting was the infamous Irascibles. They included Piet Mondrian, Willem De Kooning, Jackson Pollock, Robert Motherwell, Ad Reinhart, Arshile Gorky, Josef Albers, Hans Hoffman, and Willem De Kooning.

These artists developed a wholistic, progressive concept of art in lower Manhattan, Soho, and Greenwich Village that was in step with the times. The group of pals met together at The Cedar Tavern on University Place in Greenwich Village, a dive bar where the drinks were inexpensive, and they spent time discussing art.

These were primarily immigrant artists that drew inspiration from the early geometric abstractions created by European Abstract painters. The spontaneity and expressiveness of the Surrealists were adopted by this younger generation. They combined the two styles to create Abstract Expressionism. It attempted to create sensation and emotion but was abstract since it did not reflect anything.

Either that, or the theorist role has been fulfilled by the artists themselves, such as the Futurists who produced their own manifesto. The two had either developed simultaneously by coincidence or as a byproduct of the other.

Harold Rosenberg, who created the phrase “action painting,” was an ardent supporter of Abstract Expressionism and based his style on the improvisational beatnik poetry and bebop music. Pop art, performance art, and artists like Andy Warhol and Robert Rauschenberg were all championed by Rosenberg. Clement Greenberg, an art critic, and theorist, saw this kind of artwork as kitsch and regarded pure art as the highest form of art.

Critical Turning Points

These painters displayed a variety of techniques, yet they all had the same ideas. Because the philosophy of Abstract Expressionism often emerged before the practice, it became crucial. This was the first instance of thinkers and artists working together really, and it created the groundwork for an influential and long-lasting movement.

Pure painting is practically not attainable, hence Greenbergian ideas could not endure. Everything, even down to the canvas or paint used, where it came from, or the money needed to buy the supplies, forms subject matter in a society that is becoming more and more globalized and modernized.

Despite the fact that we are surrounded by colored objects and color technology, a complete and formal understanding of color is still elusive. The art world keeps looking for methods to express the exquisite qualities of color that have caught its attention and provided opportunity to inhabit wonderful realms.

Between October 22, 2010, and January 10, 2011, the Deutsche Guggenheim hosted the Color Fields exhibition, which included significant 1960s Color Field artworks. The Guggenheim collection in New York owns all of the artwork on display in the Guggenheim Bilbao, with the exception of the Larry Poons. Through the work of artists including Ad Reinhart, Josef Albers, Morris Louis, and Kenneth Nolan, the show examined the dynamic movement that was present in both Europe and America.

Final words

Color Field painting has a broad range of techniques, and its ambiguity might be a doorway into our unconscious. The possibilities are unlimited if a spectator interacts with an artwork subconsciously. One of the main reasons the Color Field painting has been hailed as one of the greatest works of Western art is because of this.