Welcome to Art Movement in Focus! In this section, we explore significant art movements in history through a series of articles dedicated to each movement. Here’s looking at one of the key movements to have come out of the 1940s and 50s in New York – Colourfield Abstraction.
Colourfield Abstraction – An Introduction
When you hear Colourfield Abstraction many of you will immediately picture a colour-wheel and your first-grade art teacher who taught you how to mix colour. Often, primary, secondary and complementary colours dominated the walls of our primary school classroom. Can you remember your first attempts at trying to obtain the colour purple? We do – when we would mix the red and blue all we got was different shades of brown.
Well , Colourfield Abstraction and the works that are categorised within it are not very different from our first forrays and play with colour as young humans. The intent of artists such as Rothko and Newman was, in fact, to return to that exuberant state of discovering and playing with colour. This, according to us is at the heart of Colourfield Abstraction. Presented here is a shortlist of our Top 6 Colourfield Abstraction Artists as well as 6 works by these artists that defined the Colourfield Abstraction Movement according to us.
OUR TOP 6 Colourfield Abstraction Artists :
The artists listed below as part of the Art Movement in Focus – Colourfield Abstraction do not solely belong to this one movement. Like many 20th century artists, both modern and contemporary, these artists embody artistic exploration across medium, styles and movements.
- Mark Rothko
- Barnett Newman
- Clyfford Still
- Helen Frankenthaler
- Kenneth Noland
- Morris Louis
6 WORKS THAT DEFINE THE COLOURFIELD ABSTRACTION ART MOVEMENT :
The works that were born out of this experimentation of colour in the late 20th century have often been described as ‘flat expanses of colour – melting into one another.’ This description would be quite accurate, as that is exactly what we find when we look at the works listed below. There is definitely some interplay, interaction and intermingling of the colours on the canvas. However, there is not much texture, figuration or even working of the colour through physical gestures as is often found with pure expressionists and abstractionists.
Colourfield Abstraction invites the viewer to swim in the freedom expressed on canvas. We invite you to join us as we dip into these 6 artworks.
Red on Maroon
East and Beyond
Pillar of Fire
For more such quick introductions and lists regarding Art History, visit Art Movement in Focus.