Expressionist Art

Expressionist Art

Expressionism is a form of art that started in Germany in the early 1900’s. It was created as a response to the anxiety surrounding the people’s relationship with their world that seemed in discord and how they had feelings of having lost their authenticity and spirituality. It was also a bit on the other end of impressionism and art that was considered academic. There were a few artists that became well known in the expressionist movement, such as James Ensor, Edvard Munch, and Vincent van Gogh. They encouraged distorting forms and deploying strong colors to represents the yearnings and anxieties of the people. In Europe, the classic phase of Expressionism was from around 1905 to 1920. Later, this became known as Abstract Expressionism in German art and began to influence art throughout the rest of the century. This kind of art also influenced the Neo-Expressionism art that arose in the 1980’s.

The Expressionist artists helped to create new standards when it came to creating art and how art itself was judged. Instead of art being a mere depiction of the visual world around us, it came to be what the artist felt within. The quality of art started being an assessment of what the artist was feeling more than an analysis of the composition of the painting.

When creating their art, the expressionist would be seen employing exaggerated brush strokes with lots of swaying and swirling to depict their subjects. This kind of work was meant to convey the artist’s state of emotion as a reaction to the anxieties being faced in the modern world they lived in.

Expressionism gave the artists a voice to confront the urban world throughout the early twentieth century through their bold colors and serpentine figural paintings. When they represented the modern city in their work, there were individuals who were alienated, which was a psychological product of the urbanization of the time, as well as prostitutes represented. The prostitutes represented the role of capitalism in distancing the individuals of the city emotionally.

Many people continue to use expressionist art to express their feelings in relation to the world they live in and the experiences they have.  When I did carpet cleaning Albany, Oregon at the local art museum, the expressionist art exhibit was always my favorite.

Surrealism Art

Surrealism Art

Surrealism was a literary and artistic movement in 1924 in Paris, founded by a poet by the name of Andre Breton. This movement suggested that the intellectual movement of the 1th and 18th centuries, known as the Enlightenment, suppressed the superior workings of the unconscious and irrational mind. The goal in Surrealism is to liberate the human experience, language, and thoughts from the boundaries that were set in place by rationalism.

Breton was a student of psychiatry and medicine and enjoyed the psychoanalytical writings of authors like Sigmund Freud. He was very interested in the part of the mind that produced dreams, the unconscious mind, and believed that was the source of artistic creativity. Breton was a Marxist devotee, as well, and wanted Surrealism to become a movement that was revolutionary and able to unleash the minds of the people from the rationalism of society. How could the movement liberate the minds of humans, though?

Breton believed it was through automatism. This is a kind of practice that is like a stream of consciousness. He thought the Surrealists were to produce their artwork unconsciously through this. It was a form of automatic painting. Andre Masson, a surrealist artist, created a painting called Battle of Fishes in 1926 on a mixed-media canvas as an example. Masson started with a tacky substance called gesso and let it fall freely onto the canvas surface. Next, he threw sand onto the canvas and let stick at random onto the adhesive. He then painted and doodled around the forms that resulted. The Surrealists employed these types of methods to embrace the element of chance and often had results that were quite surprising.  The end product of Masson’s painting demonstrates the inherent violence we find in nature as two prehistoric fish fight it out.

Abstract work isn’t the way every Surrealist works, though. Some Surrealist artists believe that using an actual appearance of something that people see in the real world can help them go into a deeper unconscious reality. Because of this, they create hyper-realistic and dreamlike paintings that represent a window into a world that goes beyond our dream world.

Surrealism is a type of painting that tends to make us feel like we are in a state of dreaming. The creativity behind it is quite awe inspiring.

Impressionist Art

Impressionist Art

In the later part of the 1800’s is when impressionist art was first named. It arose from a group of artists who would quickly jot down things happening in their modern life. Their paintings came to be known as Impressionism.

The term was originally considered a derogatory term, but some of the most respected and loved artists in the west became part of the movement. Some of these artists include Edgar Degas, Pierre-August Renoir, and Claude Monet.

Impressionism was a nickname that was created by the art critics who were not pleased with this style of painting. The more serious painters of that time were known to blend the colors and try to minimize the brushstrokes that were seen. This helped to produce a surface that was “licked” and was preferred by the masters in the academic world. In impressionism, you could see visible strokes that included blobs, smears, commas, and dots. If someone was called an impressionist in the late 1800’s, it meant they were an unskilled painter.

A group of impressionist painters promoted their works in an exhibit they created for themselves in 1874, though. This was a radical step for them to take since the world revolved around the official exhibit that the government of France held, known as the Salon.

This group of impressionists were called the Anonymous Society of Painters, Sculptors, Engravers, etc. They rented a studio for their exhibit in a new, modern building. The art looked strange to the average art lover of the day, and the exhibit location was quite unconventional. These impressionists even sold their art work directly off the walls, a practice that made them seem mad.

Among the impressionists in this group, the best-known ones were Berths Morisot, Eugene Boudin, Alfred Sisley, Camille Pissarro, Degas, Renoir, and Monet. In fact, it was Monet’s own painting, called Impression: Sunrise, in 1873 that inspired the name of the movement, Impressionism.

Of course, these days, the impressionists are well known and appreciated. Many people now inspire to produce the kind of works these early days impressionists created.

Cubism Art

Cubism Art

Cubism was a form of modern abstract art that was developed by Georges Braques and Pablo Picasso. It was created to revitalize the Western art traditions that had seemingly ran their course. The cubists goal was to challenge the traditional forms of representation, like perspective. They wanted to develop another way for things to be seen that reflected their own time period.

The western societies, in 1870 to 1910, had more progress technologically than the four centuries before. There were many inventions in this time such as the airplane, cars, telephone, sound recording, cinematography, and photography. It was the dawn of a new age. The artists of the day were looking for a way to evolve as well instead of using the traditional techniques. They were no longer needed to document the age they lived in now that photography was available. The radical approach they adopted was cubism.

One of the limitations for the Cubists was the perspective only being able to be seen from one viewpoint. This restricted their options. Since the image was drawn from one position, as if it were frozen, it appeared like a snapshot. The Cubists wanted to make their art go beyond that limit of perspective. They wanted the viewers to see relativity, how the artist could see and select certain elements from a subject and fuse them into one image. To accomplish this, the Cubists had to study the way things are seen.

When you look at something, your eye will scan over it and stop on certain details before it moves on. You can change your viewpoint of the object by looking at it from different positions. Because of this, the Cubists suggested that your sight is the sum of many viewing angles and your memory of the piece comes from those many angles. The Cubists used their abstract paintings as an attempt to create a more realistic way to see things.

Generally, the Cubist painting will depict real objects, places, or people, but not from a set point of view. It will, instead give you different angles of the subject at one and reconstruct them into a composition of colors, forms, and planes.

Cubism is a rather radical form of art that took a lot of study to form. It remains one of the more challenging types of arts to portray, even today.

Abstract Art

Abstract Art

Have you ever tried to understand abstract art? Well it can be easy if you have a big imagination and an open mind. Just look at a picture and ask yourself what do you see. Maybe a bunch of swirling shapes or some colorful patterns. Maybe you see animals dancing in the grass or a person walking along a road.

There is never a right or wrong answer in abstract art. It is a kind of art that is open to the interpretation of the viewer. That is one of the best things about the art. It doesn’t jump out and tell you what it is, but it requires you to have an inquiring, open mind. You must enter the painting and see where you are takin by it. You have the freedom to explore the art and put your own definition on it. It becomes a personal process that can enrich your experience of the art.

It doesn’t come natural for everyone to understand abstract art. Some people see it and think a child could create the art. What many people fail to realize is that the artists typically have a lot of skills in drawing and a deep understanding of other parts of art such as colors. They can draw a realistic piece of art, but they choose, instead, to express themselves by creating a piece of art that is not encumbered by the normal parameters.

This kind of art has been known to make some people feel uneasy because they can’t determine what the piece is at first glance. Or they may think that it doesn’t have a meaning since it doesn’t look like anything specific. There is nothing to grasp because abstract art does not contain objects that are easily recognized. Because of this, the art may come off as confusing to some who like to know what things mean.

The truth of the matter is, though, that abstract art does not have a set meaning. It is merely about the process, composition, pattern, texture, line, color, and form. When a piece of art is an abstract, it explores all those qualities to create an experience for the viewer.

When you see an abstract painting, let yourself get lost in it. You may be amazed at all the many things you get from the experience.