which of the following best describes abstract expressionist paintings?
The middle ground within Abstract Expressionism is represented by several varied styles, ranging from the more lyrical, delicate imagery and fluid shapes in paintings by Guston and Frankenthaler to the more clearly structured, forceful, almost calligraphic pictures of Motherwell and Gottlieb.
In spite of the diversity of the Abstract Expressionist movement, three general approaches can be distinguished. One, Action painting, is characterized by a loose, rapid, dynamic, or forceful handling of paint in sweeping or slashing brushstrokes and in techniques partially dictated by chance, such as dripping or spilling the paint directly onto the canvas. Pollock first practiced Action painting by dripping commercial paints on raw canvas to build up complex and tangled skeins of paint into exciting and suggestive linear patterns. De Kooning used extremely vigorous and expressive brushstrokes to build up richly coloured and textured images. Kline used powerful, sweeping black strokes on a white canvas to create starkly monumental forms.
The movement’s name is derived from the combination of the emotional intensity and self-denial of the German Expressionists with the anti-figurative aesthetic of the European abstract schools such as Futurism, the Bauhaus, and Synthetic Cubism. Additionally, it has an image of being rebellious, anarchic, highly idiosyncratic and, some feel, nihilistic.  In practice, the term is applied to any number of artists working (mostly) in New York who had quite different styles, and even to work that is neither especially abstract nor expressionist. California abstract expressionist Jay Meuser, who typically painted in the non-objective style, wrote about his painting Mare Nostrum, “It is far better to capture the glorious spirit of the sea than to paint all of its tiny ripples.” Pollock’s energetic “action paintings”, with their “busy” feel, are different, both technically and aesthetically, from the violent and grotesque Women series of Willem de Kooning’s figurative paintings and the rectangles of color in Mark Rothko’s Color Field paintings (which are not what would usually be called expressionist, and which Rothko denied were abstract). Yet all four artists are classified as abstract expressionists.
Although abstract expressionism spread quickly throughout the United States, the major centers of this style were New York City and California, especially in the New York School, and the San Francisco Bay area. Abstract expressionist paintings share certain characteristics, including the use of large canvases, an “all-over” approach, in which the whole canvas is treated with equal importance (as opposed to the center being of more interest than the edges). The canvas as the arena became a credo of Action painting, while the integrity of the picture plane became a credo of the Color field painters. Younger artists began exhibiting their abstract expressionist related paintings during the 1950s as well including Alfred Leslie, Sam Francis, Joan Mitchell, Helen Frankenthaler, Cy Twombly, Milton Resnick, Michael Goldberg, Norman Bluhm, Grace Hartigan, Friedel Dzubas, and Robert Goodnough among others.
Within abstract expressionism were two broad groupings: the so-called action painters, who attacked their canvases with expressive brush strokes; and the colour field painters who filled their canvases with large areas of a single colour.
The abstract expressionists were mostly based in New York City, and also became known as the New York school. The name evokes their aim to make art that while abstract was also expressive or emotional in its effect. They were inspired by the surrealist idea that art should come from the unconscious mind, and by the automatism of artist Joan Miró.
The visual or narrative focus of a work of art.
An element or substance out of which something can be made or composed.
After the atrocities of World War II, many artists felt that the world needed to be reinvented
Explore how sculptors took on the challenges of Abstract Expressionism