Abstract Expressionism and Photography

Abstract Expressionism and Photography

In the 1950s a movement called Abstract Expressionism gained ground in the world of art. Painters like Willem De Kooning, Jackson Pollock, and Robert Motherwell were at the head of that movement. These artists removed figures in their paintings and recreated them with drips, scratches, splashes, and built-up textures.

In Photography, long exposure and multiple exposure photography work really well to mimic the style.

The following are some of the strategies that the Abstract Expressionist painters of the 50s used in their works, alongside my version of the strategy using the medium of digital photography.

Abstract Expressionist Strategy: Energetic and dynamic brushstrokes.

Abstract Expressionist Strategy: Energetic and dynamic brushstrokes.

Digital Version: Using a shutter speed of 1/13s I gently rocked the camera to create the strokes seen in the water. The combination of the bird and camera moving produces the blurred representation of the bird, which could be blurred even more in post. However, I am very pleased with the overall image here.

Abstract Expressionist Strategy: Heavy paint or addition of textural materials

Abstract Expressionist Strategy: Heavy paint or addition of textural materials

Digital Version: Starting with a blurred long exposure photograph of a food delivery motorcyclist, I worked on this image with software. Saturation, contrast, and detail were manipulated to taste, and then painterly effects applied, using Topaz Impressions.

Abstract Expressionist Strategy: High tonal contrast and manipulated color palettes. 

Abstract Expressionist Strategy: High tonal contrast and manipulated color palettes. 

Digital Version: While I’m not sure this would adequately fit for high tonal contrast, it is a manipulated color palette. Starting with a multiple exposure image of an orange tropical flower on a green background, I have manipulated colors and blended one of my hand-painted backgrounds into the mix.

Have fun with these ideas and create away!

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Jamuna Burry

Exploring ideas on creativity through digital art.

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