Wednesday, 7 October 2009

The American Scene: Prints from Hopper to Pollock.

Reginald Marsh, Breadline, 1932.
Martin Lewis, Quarter to nine, Saturdays children, 1929.

James E Allen, The Connectors, 1934.
Edward Hopper, Night on the El train, 1918.

Charles Sheeler, Delmonico building, 1926.

Printmakers in the United States in the first half of the 20th century produced some of the most exciting, original and defining images of modern American life.

Beginning with John Sloan and the Ashcan School of urban realism in the early 1900s, artists adopted a wide variety of print media to depict the American Scene, from the evocative cityscapes of Edward Hopper and Martin Lewis to romanticised views of the rural heartlands by Thomas Hart Benton and the young Jackson Pollock.

During the 1930s the Depression provided a strong vein of socially conscious subject matter, and new techniques such as screenprinting and other experimental media were explored.  With the Second World War, America became increasingly international in its outlook, emerging after the war as a superpower, and the American Scene declined in its importance.  The arrival in the United States of European exiles such as Josef Albers and Stanley William Hayter introduced geometrical abstraction and experiments with surreaism, culminating in the abstract expressionism that became the hallmark of the American avant-garde in the 1950s.

I found the exhibition surprisingly interesting, I originally thought I wouldnt enjoy the exhibition but I foud the stories behind the pieces really thought provoking. Alot of the pieces were based on life in New York in and around the depression To see the artists vision on these periods of time was really good,I loved the piece by James E Allen with the workers on the rafters, and the piece by Reginald Marsh called breadline with the line of men queing for food.

There was a selection of work at the end of the exhibition by Louise Bourgeois, She printed quite abstract pieces with text framed next to it. I really liked this idea and think it may be quite a useful thing for me to doas a lotof the work I do is usely linked to a piece of writing ive read or a poem or qoute.

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