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Abstract Expressionist Sculptures
The Abstract Expressionist movement may be more closely associated with painters such as Jackson Pollack and Willem De Kooning, but the works produced by those artists that chose to work outside of a two dimensional medium are fascinating in their own right. Painting became increasingly influenced by the concept of “action-painting," where the artist spontaneously constructed each piece in unconventional ways to communicate abstract emotional states and meanings, and sculpture followed suit.
Sculptors involved in the movement throughout the 1950s and 60s sought to create similar forms, with similar effects, in three dimensions. This presented numerous physical and conceptual challenges, since the sculptural medium tends to be harder to improvise in manipulation. Pieces from this period all display the many ways sculptors rose to this challenge.
It is not a coincidence, then, that some of the most successful sculptors from this period were trained as painters before turning to sculpture. Often, they made pieces to be displayed against a wall, similar to how one would display a work on canvas. These abstract sculptures were based on the same fluidity that defined the period’s painting, but cast it into grand scale and solid form.
David Smith, whose “Voltri-Bolton XXIII” fetched the highest price at auction for contemporary sculpture when it was sold in 1986, was once famously quoted as stating “I do not recognize the limits where painting ends and sculpture begins"
Carl Jung's theory of the “collective subconscious” is a major influence on Abstract Expressionism, be on the lookout for underlying emotional archetypes and symbolism in pieces such as these
Abstract Expressionism is sometimes referred to as the “New York School,” though the movement eventually expanded outside of the United States