Thursday, December 23, 2010

Challenge 52 - Color Field

Challenge #52 December 2010/ due January 1

Guest Hostess: Betty Warner, Simsbury, CT

Theme or Technique: Express something using Color Field concepts

Design Concept: Color Field

Color Field Description and information:

Color Field is a style of abstract painting that came in to prominence in the 1940’s and 1950’s and extended into the 1960’s. It was a departure from the recognized forms of abstract painting and was influenced by European modernism. However, it came into full bloom in New York City. It took Abstract Expressionism in a new direction. The colors and shapes became more important on their own. Many who observe the color field paintings will have the ‘Why I can do that’ or ‘My child can do that’ or ‘A monkey can do that’ sort of reaction. However, it is very difficult to accomplish. Below in the references is one that gives instruction on creating a color field painting.

I have always been drawn to abstract paintings. They make me think and wonder. Standing in front of one, I always find myself drawn in and mesmerized by its affect on me without always understanding why. The color field artists have reduced a painting to its essence. You can only take in the whole while finding it difficult to identify its parts. Even the canvas does not feel separate and distinct. Can you tell I find it fascinating? I hope that you will find it as interesting to explore as I do.

I have read that the key characteristics of Color Field painting are:

· The bright colors are in specific shapes that can be either amorphous or geometic, but not very straight-edged.

· The work emphasizes the flatness of the canvas, because it is what a painting is about.

· The subject, and thus the excitement, of the work is the tension set up between the colors and shapes.

· The lines between figure and ground are blurred to the point there is almost no distinction.

· The works have usually been very large which allows the viewer to experience the color as a vast expanse – or a field of color.

Here is some useful information and history from Wikepedia. :

More to inform you (this article has wonderful links to specific artist information):

Here are some examples:

Here is an interesting ‘how to’:

Among painters identified as Color Field painters are these:

Jackson Pollock, Adolph Gottlieb, Hans Hofmann, Barnett Newman, Clyfford Still, Mark Rothko, Robert Motherwell, Ad Reinhardt, Arshile Gorky (last works), Kenneth Noland, Helen Frankenthaler, Frank Stella, Morris Louis

Some more examples:

Color Field and Art Quilters

It is my opinion that there are a number of quilt artists who exemplify the Color Field approach. I am not sure that they would describe themselves in that way. However, in my view, some of their works are evocative of ‘color field painting’.

Judith Plotner

Judith Larzelere

Judith Content

Margaret Anderson

Elizabeth Barton

Dorothy Caldwell

Emily Richardson

Elizabeth Busch

Ann Brauer

Bonnie J. Smith

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