Post Painterly Abstraction

Post Painterly Abstraction

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.

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Parra's studio, with Parra at the centre, his back to the camera as he works on the large painting takes centre stage, showing a faceless blue woman in a striped dress, painted in red, purple, blue and teal. The studio is full of brightly coloured paints, with a large window on the right and a patterned rug across the floor under the painting.