Post-painterly abstraction is a response to the painterly and gestural techniques associated with some Abstract Expressionist artists.
Post-painterly abstraction represented a significant shift toward a more purely abstract form of painting. It evolved by drawing upon existing abstract art traditions, amalgamating elements from artists like Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock, and late Henri Matisse works.
However, these post-painterly abstractionists purposefully rejected the introspective and mystical qualities of abstract expressionism and any lingering connections to the external world. They also explored innovative approaches to composition.
What they created was a kind of art that operated in a purely factual manner, emphasising the fundamental elements of the medium itself: form, colour, texture, scale, composition, and more.
In 1964, an exhibition featuring thirty-one artists associated with these developments was curated by art critic Clement Greenberg at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and titled ‘Post-Painterly Abstraction’. Prominent figures in this movement included Helen Frankenthaler, Morris Louis, and Kenneth Noland.