More Than What You See, Part II: Action Painting and Chromatic Expressionism

Mark Rothko Pollock

Anytime we look at Abstract art, our eyes are confronted by colors, forms, lines and drops of paint as we stand abducted by a charming disorder or a story lacking a part of the narrative. Our rational instinct seems to try to make sense when looking at it, but there's no doubt, the composition of the abstract artwork may simply surrender us to FEEL SOMETHING.

Action Painting and Chromatic Expressionism play an important role in abstract art... and these concepts are two faces of the same coin! It all started in the mid 90's, when USA welcomed many refugees- artists from Europe, alluding them to create freely! #Blessed  and this inspired the birth of The New York School, an informal group of American poets, dancers, musicians and painters who's objective was ''to describe the emotions of all human beings''

With that being said, established styles, procedures and techniques were demolished in the search for symbolic content: one capable of h ealing the wounds of art and society after the Second World War. (Little, 2004, p.122) For this purpose two slopes developed:


In this case, a focused artist (the type that carries a desire to paint), plays with the canvas as a subversion* against academic methods conforming to what is generally or traditionally accepted.

*Subversion: the undermining of the power and authority of an established system or institution.

  1. "Number 5 1948" by Jackson Pollock


The Artist Pollock “used the energy from his entire body in the act(…) and the fact of having the canvas on the floor forces any body to pour over the fabric, executing a movement- flow in the work'' (García Jolly, 2009, pg.20).



This kind is the contrary to Action Painting. Disturbing and/or luminous colors blocks amplify the sensation of stillness to evoke the physical energy of contemplation. 

Ladies and Gentleman, Mark Rothko's Art:

2. Untitled (violet, black, orange, yellow over white and red) by Mark Rothko

Perhaps Mark Rothko wanted to provoke mixed feelings and that's why his work is about duality.. opposing Cold colors vs Warm colors/  Dark vs light/ Contemplation vs Action… ''Invoking existential conflicts on a modern world''  (Mark Rothko: Walls of Light, 2004)

Now that you know about two kinds! And their background... wherever you go, whenever you see them, remember to submerge yourself! 

 Painting by Artist, Joy Hilley. Title: Thin Places 60
48”x48”x1.5” gallery-wrapped canvas. Learn More

 Painting by Artist, Joy Hilley. Title: Thin Places 

 Contact me to preview Thin Places at VIII Home & Arts.


Blog Author: Coral Rodriguez
Editor: VIII



  1. Little, Stephen. (2004) ...Ismos. Para entender el arte, Iqon Editions.
  2. García Jolly , Victoria. (2009) Jackson Pollock: el accidente controlado. Revista: Algarabía no. 60
  3. Mark Rothko: Paredes de luz, 2004 


  1. “Jason pollock” Jackson Pollock | Museum of Contemporary Art, LA | Nick Webb | Flickrby:Nick Webb Nick Webb | Flickr(CC BY 2.0) Creative Commons — Attribution 2.0 Generic — CC BY 2.0   

2. ROTHKO , MARK. 1949. Sin título (violeta, negro, naranja, amarillo sobre blanco y rojo). Pintura.





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