A broad and subjective concept, that drives many reflections

Beauty, a concept that has fascinated humanity for centuries, is a positive emotion accompanied by an evaluation of beautiful, good, right and true. That quality capable of satisfying the soul through the senses, becoming the object of deserved and worthy contemplation, is an experience that involves many parts of the brain. However, beauty is also a subjective concept, as what one person finds beautiful may not be the same for another person. In other words, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. If you asked me who are, obviously in my opinion, the four best contemporary American painters, I would answer you without any hesitation: Jasper Johns and Frank Stella, Ed Ruscha and Chuck Close.

According to some art experts, this artist began to become aware of this in Pop Art. Target with Plaster Casts, one of his works with casts of human body parts inserted inside, alludes to the opposition between abstract and figurative art. Rejecting the art of Abstract Expressionism, he essentially favors the constitutive aspects of the image itself. He won the Imperial Prize in 1993 and the Wolf Prize for the Arts in 1986, the industry’s two highest awards. Born in Georgia in 1930, Jasper Johns is considered one of the most important living American painters. Belonging to the artistic movement that harks back to Dada art, close to the contemporary New French realism, he inserts objects taken from the most banal everyday life into the work of art. If you look carefully at what he painted, you will inevitably find objects that can be looked at, but not seen. When observing his Painting with Two Balls, it should be remembered that, against the virility flaunted by other American artists, the two painted balls allude to himself. To paint a flag, he doesn’t need a model; the idea he has of the object in his mind is enough for him. So don’t ask yourself if there is a flag or a work of art in his paintings.

Now, we want to tell you about an artist who studied at the school of abstract expressionism, but who distanced himself from it after success came to him very early. Frank Stella, born in Massachusetts in 1936, is considered one of the fathers of minimalism in painting. Helping to give rise to minimalism, post-painterly abstraction, and color painting, he became a key figure in American modernism. In 1959 he gained immediate recognition with his series of impersonal black stripe paintings. By focusing on the formal elements of artistic creation and expanding the monochromatic palette to bright colors, through the incorporation of other non-pictorial elements he created paintings in the third dimension. In the early 2010s he began using the computer as a painting tool, thus managing to produce star-shaped sculptures – monochromatic, black or beige or naturally metallic – with the tips in the shape of solid planes, thin lines or mesh circuits metallic. Jasper’s Split Star, one of his sculptures from 2017, built with six geometric grids resting on an aluminum base, was installed at 7 World Trade Center four years later.

His art ranges from painting to photography, graphics and sculpture. Born in Nebraska in 1937, Ed Ruscha is an artist who has influenced many artists. The way he sees it, art should be something that makes you scratch your head. Some critics argue that the influence of Edward Hopper can be found in his works. He studied at the California Institute of the Arts in Los Angeles. Already when he was just a student, Jasper Johns’ works contributed to shifting his interests from graphics to painting. After graduating, he began working in an advertising agency, but by the 1960s he was known for his paintings, collages and photographs. During his European tour in 1961, he had the opportunity to appreciate the works of Robert Rauschenberg. At the Pasadena Museum of Art, his work was included in the exhibition New Painting of Common Objects, considered one of the first manifestations of Pop art. All his works are connected with that artistic movement. His creative curiosity pushed him to experiment with the use of gunpowder, fruit juices and even grass stains. Words and phrases recur in his paintings. Although he denies it, the landscapes of Southern California have been sources of thematic and stylistic inspiration for much of his work.

We conclude our series of American artists by telling you about Chuck Close, a painter and photographer born in Washington in 1940 and well known for his hyper-realistic portraits of celebrities, such as Brad Pitt and Kate Moss. When he first set foot in the Seattle Art Museum, at the age of 14 and with his mother, he was astounded by the paintings created by Jackson Pollock: that was not the kind of art he had hypothesized. Yet, after a very short time he began to use that painter’s ways of making art. Starting in 1967, experimenting with highly original techniques for painting human faces based on photographs that he personally took for that purpose, the artist created portraits characterized by great attention to detail. From his point of view, any person’s face corresponded to a kind of life roadmap: wrinkles when you smile, but even more wrinkles when you sulk. These portraits, created in acrylic painting, silk-screen printing and photography, resulted from dividing the images into grids and then copying each square onto a larger canvas.

To broaden your horizon of knowledge about other painters, you can type The sole purpose of this site is to spread the knowledge of these artists and that other people enjoy their works. The property of the images that appear in this blog correspond to their authors.


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