Pure Form

Abstraction and meaning

CHAPTER 5: Pure form

Around 1910 and the decade that followed, artists in both Europe and the United States began exploring purely abstract forms–ones not tied to any system of representation but standing on their own–as a new type of art. This revolutionary concept created what is now an incredibly rich tradition of global abstraction, especially in the medium of painting, a tradition in which shape, color, texture, scale and the materiality of the medium itself are emphasized above all else. The Blanton’s collection is especially strong in painting of the 1960s and 70s from both the United States and Latin America. In this period, artists found endless ways to explore the possibilities engendered by the basic concept of an art that represents nothing but itself.

Image credit:
Joan Mitchell
Rock Bottom, 1960-1961 (detail)
Oil on canvas
The Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin
Gift of Mari and James A. Michener, 1991

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