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February 28, 2013


Filed under: barnett newman — Tags: — jherzlinger @ 8:01 am

To say I am in love with Abstract Expressionism would be a total understatement! I found alot of content in the following exerpts, that to me sum up a lot of what this type of art is all about.  Once again, there are those people that think abstract art is just about throwing paint on a canvas.  It is not really.

I do hope this sheds a bit of light and puts a smile on your face!

Much Love,


Newman shared the Abstract Expressionist’s interests in myth and the primitive unconscious, but the huge fields of color and trademark “zips” in his pictures set them apart from the gestural abstraction of many of his peers. The response to his mature work, even from friends, was muted when he first exhibited it. It was not until later in his career that he began to receive acclaim, and he would subsequently become a touchstone for both Minimalists and a second generation of color field painters. Commenting on one of Newman’s exhibitions, in 1959, critic Thomas B. Hess wrote, “he changed in about a year’s time from an outcast or a crank into the father figure of two generations.”


Newman believed that the modern world had rendered traditional subjects and styles invalid. A new and commanding content was required. In the post-war years shadowed by conflict,

fear and tragedy, Newman once wrote, old standards of beauty were irrelevant: the sublime was all that was appropriate – an experience of enormity which might left modern humanity out of its torpor.

I would say no because content suggests something separate from the sublime, which suggests matters of handling, composition and style. But if you wanted to I don’t see a problem,

just run them together. He thought that humans had a primal drive to create, and one could find expressions of the same instincts and yearnings locked in ancient art as one would find in modern art.


Newman’s pictures were a decisive break with the gestural abstraction of his peers. Instead, he devised an approach, which avoided painting’s conventional oppositions of figure andground.

He created a symbol, the “zip”, which might reach out and invoke the viewer standing before it – the viewer fired with the spark of life.


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