The term neo-expressionism describes the art movement that dominated the art market in the early and mid 1980s. The word neo refers to a revival of previous ideas or trends. Expressionism was a style from around the time of World War 1 that was highly personal, and was often executed with violent fervor. Neo-expressionism is similar, and also generally uses bright colors, recognizable objects (such as the human body) with distorted representation, great expression of emotion, and often commentary on social issues. It usually is not realistic. The common subject matter often deals with the negative aspects of life: vulgarities, violence, cynicism, and brutality. It is full of symbolism, and is considered figurative and gestural. A varied assemblage of young artists portrayed the human body in reaction and in contrast to the remote, introverted, and highly intellectualized abstract art production in the 1970s. The original goal of these artists was to depict emotional and psychological concerns of themselves and their times. This is often achieved by using heavy black outlines to express anger and hostility in addition to strong contrasts of the bold colors. Other artists explored color and abstraction to express spiritual and/or mystical ideas. Other common traits presented in paintings of this style included: a rejection of traditional standards of composition and design, the use of vivid but jarringly banal color harmonies, and a simultaneously tense and playful presentation of objects in a primitivist manner that communicates a sense of inner disturbance, tension, alienation, and ambiguity. This movement was also linked to and in part generated by new and aggressive methods of salesmanship, media promotion, and marketing on the part of dealers and galleries. It was controversial both in the quality of its art products and in the highly commercialized aspects of its presentation to the art-buying public.
There are several artists that dominated and accurately represented neo-expressionism. Some of these artists are Sandro Chia, Georg Baselitz, Immendorff, Francoise Arthus, David Salle, and Terry Marks.
The 5 elements of art are easy to recognize in this style of art. Line is used to create the shape that represents the objects of recognizable nature in the painting. The use of Color is quite obvious. Because most colors are bold and contrasting, a lot of times there arent a lot of variations in value. The colors used often add to the non-realistic elements of the painting. Texture isnt a big issue in neo-expressionist paintings, though.
Personally, I really like this style. Its easy for me to relate to it, and to create my own paintings representative of it. I like the colors used, and the freedom to express emotion and feeling. There really are no limits to what you can do with this style.
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