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Discovering Art and its History Color Field Painting: a movement within the genre of Abstract Expressionism.

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Presentation on theme: "Discovering Art and its History Color Field Painting: a movement within the genre of Abstract Expressionism."— Presentation transcript:

1 Discovering Art and its History Color Field Painting: a movement within the genre of Abstract Expressionism

2 Color Field painting is a style of abstract painting that emerged in the late 1940’s. Closely related to Abstract Expressionism, many Color Field artists also pioneered the Abstract Expressionist movement. Color Field painting is characterized by large fields of flat, solid color spread across or stained into the canvas; creating areas of unbroken surface and a flat picture plane R-No. 1 By Clyfford Still circa 1947 Magenta, Black, Green on Orange By Mark Rothko circa 1949

3 In the late 1950’s a different style of Color Field painting emerged. It differed from Abstract Expressionism in that these artists eliminated the emotional, mythic or religious content of the earlier movement, and the highly personal and painterly or gestural application associated with it. Mountains and Sea, 1952 By Helen Frankenthaler The Gate, By Hans Hoffman

4 The Color Field movement placed less emphasis on gesture, brushstrokes and action in favor of consistency of form and process. During the late 1950s and 1960s, Color Field painters emerged using formats of stripes, targets, simple geometric patterns and references to landscape imagery and nature. For many Color Field artists color was the instrument for their expression. They used color and texture to imply emotion and content to their work. Open No. 122 in Scarlet and Blue 1969 By Robert Motherwell The Dancer 1949 By Henri Matisse

5 Who's Afraid of Red, Yellow and Blue? 1966 By Barnett Newman Many Color Field artists were interested in the lyrical or atmospheric effects of vast expanses of color, filling the canvas, and by suggestion, beyond it. Most color-field paintings are large — meant to be seen up close so that the viewer is immersed in a color environment. Abstract Painting No By Ad Reinhart

6 Many artists associated with the Color Field movement during the 1960s were moving away from gesture and angst in favor of clear surfaces and unity created from a sum of the parts – otherwise known as Gestalt. Most Color Field painters in the latter part of the movement were heading in a new direction away from the violence and anxiety of Action painting toward a new and seemingly calmer language of color. Black Grey Beat, 1964 By Gene Davis Harrah II, 1967 By Frank Stella

7 Color Field painters often used reduced formats, with drawing essentially simplified to repetitive and regulated systems. Basic references to nature were used, and a highly articulated and psychological use of color was present. In general the artists eliminated recognizable imagery in favor of complete abstraction. In pursuing this direction of modern art, these artists wanted to present each painting as one unified, cohesive, monolithic image often within series' of related types. No 1, 1958 Beginning, 1958 Drought 1962 All by Kenneth Noland

8 An important distinction between abstract expressionism and color field painting was the paint handling. The most basic and fundamental definition of a painting is how the paint is applied. Color field painters revolutionized the way paint could be effectively applied. One of the reasons for the success of the Color Field movement was the technique of staining. Artists would mix and dilute their paint in buckets or coffee cans making a fluid liquid and then they would pour it into raw unprimed canvas. The paint could also be brushed on or rolled on or thrown on or poured on or sprayed on, and would spread into the fabric of the canvas. Generally artists would draw shapes and areas as they stained. Many different artists employed staining as the technique of choice to use in making their paintings. Beth Chaf By Morris Louis Stripes were one of the most popular vehicles for color used by several different Color Field painters in a variety of different formats. Big A By Jack Bush Magna is a special artist use paint. In Magna pigments are ground in an acrylic resin with alcohol based solvents. Magna colors are more vivid and intense than regular acrylic water based paints. Where By Morris Louis Acrylics, which are plastic paints were first made available in the 1950s Acrylic artist paints can be thinned with water and used as washes in the manner of watercolor paints, although the washes are fast and permanent once dry. Unlike oils, acrylic paints stop at their edge, do not bleed and offer sharp, crisp colors. Lullaby by Sam Gilliam

9 Many of the artists we have looked at today have been considered Color Field painters at one point in their careers. Color Field painting is a movement within the larger genre of Abstract Expressionism and Contemporary Art. It has helped to define new materials and techniques and has provided us with some of America’s most influential and important artists. In the coming weeks we will continue to focus on color and color theory. As you research your assigned artist, consider their role in this important art movement, and also consider how Color Field painting might influence your work. Slides and information has been gathered from the following sources:


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