Realism vs. Expressionism: It’s All So Abstract

Kathy’s Thoughts:

We had a busy Fall season and I apologize for not getting a newsletter out for several months. The twins are in high school and now have a Driving Permit! Scary. Ron has had works hanging at the Littleton Museum and currently, a piece at the Impasto Art Gallery in Longmont, CO. But the most exciting news of all is that Ron is experimenting with Abstract styles. After years of painting Abstract Realism, he is beginning to test the waters of Abstract Expressionism. Thus, I’ve had to do some research…

Abstract Realism vs. Abstract Expressionism:

In my ongoing education of the Fine Art World, I would like to start with some straightforward definitions when discussing art: Abstract – meaning that it doesn’t pictorially represent reality or in which objects do not resemble those known in physical nature. Picasso paints in the Abstract style. Realism –  the accurate, detailed, unembellished depiction of nature or contemporary life. Caravaggio is considered a Realist painter. Expressionism – a style in which the artist seeks to depict not objective reality but rather the subjective emotions and responses that objects and events arouse within a person. Van Gogh is considered one of the original Expressionist painters. Abstract Realism – an art movement that is not easily defined because it is a marriage of two contradictory terms, Abstract and Realistic. Now, I really struggled to find a recognizable name to give as an example here. Ron’s work has often been compared to Georgia O’Keefe, however, she is considered the “Mother of American Modernism” – a broad movement in Western Art beginning in the late 1850’s, rejecting styles of the past, experimenting with different techniques to better represent the modern world. And finally, Abstract Expressionism – referring to two separate painting styles: Color Field Painters, like Rothko, who used color and lines to evoke emotion in the viewer, and Action Painters, like Pollock, who used streaks of paint and overlapping lines to imply movement in the work.

To Sum It Up:

My research tells me what art collectors already know. People buy art because it somehow speaks to them emotionally. Artists paint what they feel, more so in the modern era than at any time in recorded history. Abstract Realism has a recognizable subject matter where the artist has abstracted colors or shapes onto the canvas to convey something that either reflects the times or the emotions of that artist. Abstract Expressionism is a subconscious action of the artist either through color or lines that convey the feelings of the artists or his/her reflection of current trends and ideas in society.

How Do They Do It?

As always, Visual Art speaks to our emotions, connecting us to the world around us, consciously or subconsciously, leaving some to wonder how on earth an artist has created such a beautiful piece of work with paint and lines.

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