Abstract Expressionism and Post-War Art Movements Essay
Abstract Expressionism produced a huge impact on the art of the post-war period giving rise to a number of new directions that absorbed certain features of abstract expressionism while rejecting others.
John McLaughlin became one of the leading figures in new hard-edge abstraction. He continued the tradition of Abstract Expressionism in its detachment from reality; however, the focus was shifted from subjectivism and emphasis on the ways of communing with the artist. McLaughlin created geometric figures attempting to free art from representation or gestures in order to encourage self-reflection. In JMD-3 the artist removed all color to draw attention to the form and smooth application of paint provoking introspection. The same purpose was pursued in the untitled work from the exhibition The LA that Influenced My Eye that depicts a combination of neutral gray with bright yellow stripes bringing the viewer closer to nature. In both cases, no attention is paid to the gesture as it was typical of Abstract Expressionism.
Jasper Johns, who represented pop-art, stepped away from the universal meaning of Abstract Expressionism and concentrated on multiple meanings achieved through a combination of recognizable images. One of his major works, Flag, has multiple connotations as a symbol of the nation, starting from imperialism and oppression to freedom and patriotism. The major goal was to show the dichotomy of well-known objects. The same can be observed in Target with Four Faces, where Johns demonstrated a seemingly innocent symbol through the perspective of the Cold war that gave it new malevolent implications.
Frank Stella also departed from Abstract Expressionism to focus on delineated parallel stripes both black and colored, which stressed the flatness of the canvas in order to make the viewer realize that there was no window onto the realistic three-dimensional space. In his major works, such as The Marriage of Reason and Squalor and Harran II, he used a vivid palette and a highly complicated composition of various shapes and forms at the same time emphasizing the fact that painting is no more than a piece of canvas.