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Impressionist, Cubist, Abstract Expressionist – can you be any of these? I see a lot of artists online, and elsewhere bestowing these hallowed titles upon themselves with great relish.
It seems to me an all too easy task to say to a captive ear at an exhibit opening or online “my style is Impressionism…” Clearing my throat loudly I would eagerly interject with a stern no. There’s no longer such a thing.
None of the isms can be reduced to a style. They are historical points of place, time and the artists that defined them. If you are painting in an impressionist style, I ask- which one? Even amongst the Impressionists themselves there was no string that bound them to a single thought.
The best that can be done is to immerse your practice with the common ground between you and another then see where your hand and eye take you, of course without trying too hard to see your work as that artist would see their own.
Then there’s Abstract Expressionism. You make an abstract painting stand back and look at it. Quickly you should realize it is abstract and it’s an expression. Damn it again it is not Abstract Expressionism. Once again this was a group of painters who for one did not work collaboratively and had very little to do with each other. They in their own personal way were expressing a time and place.
I believe at times there is an issue of an artist wanting to define oneself. We all need a name, Hmmm? My work looks a lot like the work of Monet reflecting on his garden in Giverny, so I guess I’m an Impressionist or it is drippy like Jackson Pollock’s, so I guess I’m an abstract expressionist. Not even they called themselves that.
So please when you pick up your brush do it and call it yours and nothing more.