Sunday, April 7, 2013

Helen Frankenthaler: Post-Painterly Abstraction

Although Abstraction and Post-Painterly Abstraction are similar in their names and even the artists associated with the movements, the key difference between the two movements resides in the purpose of the painting. While Abstraction focused on creating a feeling of passion and primal intensity, Post-Painterly Abstraction emphasizes a detached rationality, it is abstraction with meaning. Helen Frankenthaler was one Post-Painterly Abstraction painters during her time. Frankenthaler’s greatest contribution to the art community was her creation of the soak-stain painting technique, which lead to her influence in the development of color field. She is often compared to Jackson Pollock because both artists created work by pouring paint on to large scale canvas rather than using a more traditional process, and although she was influenced by his works her own art is defined by the difference in painting process. Pollock used enamel so that the paint would lie on the canvas and dry on top of the cloth; however Frankenthaler used oil turpentine blend that, when poured, would soak into and through the canvas creating an illuminating effect. In addition to the painting process, Pollock’s painting represents intense abstraction and lacks rationality while Frankenthaler’s paintings represent her memories. For instance, her painting Canyon is meant to represent an actual canyon. Her process of soak staining led to the development of color field painting.

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