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The world experienced many radical changes in the time following World War II. Along
with the various political and economic changes came an art movement that influenced many
prominent artists to express themselves in a new way. Abstract Expressionism emerged in New
York, where a small group of artists introduced art that shifted the art world’s attention. Many
previous artists used abstraction in their work, but the Abstract Expressionism movement
symbolized a time when abstract art no longer consisted of lines and shapes. Artists began to
resist European traditional painting methods and use abstract art created to invoke emotion.
A major figure in this art movement is Jackson Pollock. Pollock’s most famous pieces of work
were made using a “drip painting” method, where the paint is dripped or poured onto a canvas
that is laid on the ground. This new approach of abstract expressionism displayed the struggle
between man and nature, metaphorical battles, and the pursuit of balance. His painting style
was completely free, the works were shocking to many viewers. In addition to drip painting,
Jackson Pollock was a revolutionary artist in Action Painting in where Pollock would paint using
sticks and knives, onto an unstretched canvas on a floor. The entirety of his Action Painting
allowed him to become part of the painting process. His avant-garde approach both fascinated
and shocked the art critics which ultimately earned him the nickname “Jack The Dripper.” With
Pollock’s rejection of using of an easel and other more traditional painting techniques, carved
out a distinct fan base for himself during the post-war abstract expressionist painting. Many art
buffs agree that Pollock’s paintings represent the abstract expressionism of the mid-twentieth
Many other Abstract Expressionists followed Pollock’s footsteps into a breakthrough of their
own in a sense innovations of Jackson Pollock, for example, Willem de Kooning another
famous action painter using abstract expressionism conveys moving artwork with a parallel of
warped and abstracted brushstrokes. In the process of creating his painting Woman, I Kooning
took tremendous measure to perfect the abstract figure come to life. The painting underwent
innumerable metamorphoses before it was finished in 1952. Woman, I is the first in a series of
de Kooning works on the theme of Woman, of which there are six in the series.In this process,
Kooning reflects the cultural ambivalence for the power of feminism. Kooning developed a
portfolio of painted women in his early career. His paintings almost seemed to have a similar
appearance but the individuals displayed in the pieces were genetically different. In his sixth
iteration of the painted Woman it’s clear that they all stem from the same inspiration. The
inspiration for the group of painted woman is meant to show the different cultures from
Hilton 2
Paleolithic fertility. The technical components of Women I help capture the meaning of the
piece. For example, lines, create depth or define a space. In Women I, her body is outlined in
thick and thin black lines, which continue in loops, streaks, and drips, taking on an independent
life of their own. These lines express aggressive emotion, and define the woman as dominant
by taking over the entire space of the painting.
Another groundbreaking Abstract Expressionist Arshile Gorky, one of the famous abstract artist
who was best known for his Cubism. After becoming a successful artist in New York, Gorky
met his wife Agnes Magruder, who ultimately was a muse for his artwork, together the couple
would spend more time outside of New York City, in Connecticut, where Gorky forged what is
considered the best work of his career. His creations consisted of abstract brushwork coupled
with biomorphic shapes and sulfurous colors inspired simultaneously by Cubism’s fractured
perspective. Coming from a background that consisted of genocide and war, Gorky expressed
the suffering of his culture in a famous painting from 1944, titled, “How My Mother’s
Embroidered Apron Unfolds in My Life”, In this painting Gorky fuses many inspirations,
personal, the aesthetic, and the automatic. This large-scale piece displays many compositions
of Abstract Expressionism, with lines and drips that careen across the canvas without evident
structure. After his tragic suicide in 1948, many historians reflected on his career and came to a
consensus that Gorky’s work not only represented synthesized Cubism and Surrealism-which
stoked the flames of Abstract Expressionism, which ultimately inspired and altered the future of
the art. Influencing many of the early 20th century’s most radical artists, the special part of his
artwork is the narrative added with the use of his own emotions and reflecting on a deep well of
personal experience: as a child in Armenia, that dealt with the death of his mother at a young
age, displacement, and new landscapes enveloped his life and his artwork.
Throughout the 1950s, Abstract Expressionism was a major influence on artist’s both at home
and abroad. Its distinctive style was embraced by the United States because it reflected the true
values of American democracy, individualism, and cultural achievement, and actively promoted
international relations due to worldwide exhibitions of Abstract Expressionists artworks. It was
also used as a form of political propaganda during the years of World War 2. While many artists
found inspiration in the stylistic discoveries of de Kooning and Pollock. Their work appeared
perfected and lacked the same newfound experience of the first generation pioneers

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