Fine Art Moment: Helen Frankenthaler, American Artist, December 12, 1928 - December 27, 2011. Art Genre: "Post Painterly Abstraction." Famous Quote: "There are no rules. That is how art is born, how breakthroughs happen. Go against the rules or ignore the rules. That is what invention is about." ‘Post Painterly Abstraction’ was coined by influential art critic, Clement Greenberg, in 1964 describing the art technique/visual as linear in design, bright in color, lacking in detail and open in composition which lead the eye beyond the edges of the canvas. Post Painterly Abstraction reflected the artists' desire to leave behind the grandiose drama of Abstract Expressionism of the 1940’s and 1950’s. Helen Frankenthaler was the inventor of the “stained canvas technique”. Rather than using paint thickly and opaquely so that it sits upon the surface of the canvas, she thinned her oil paint with turpentine to the consistency of watercolor. She then painted it onto unprimed canvas, which she laid on the floor allowing it to soak into the canvas. The unprimed canvas absorbed the paint, with the oil spreading out, sometimes creating a halo-like effect. Then by pouring, dripping, sponging, using paint rollers, and sometimes house brushes, she manipulated the paint. Sometimes she would lift the canvas and tilt it various ways, allowing the paint to puddle and pool, soak into the surface, & move over the surface in a manner that combined control and spontaneity. A description of the technique at the time reads- "it melted into the weave of the canvas and became the canvas. And the canvas became the painting. This was new." The unpainted areas of the canvas became important shapes in their own right and integral to the composition of the painting.
Pic 1. Helen Frankenthaler Circa Pic 2. Helen Frankenthaler, 12/12/1928 - 12/27/2011 Pic 3. Pouring paint onto large unprimed canvas- part of her soak-stain technique Pic 4. Untitled (Helen), signed 'Frankenthaler' (lower right), oil on unstretched canvas
Pic 5. Close-up to showcase the ‘halo’ effect using her stained canvas technique - 1 day ago