Free «Modernism and Art Satisfaction» UK Essay Paper
Modernism turned to be one of the most ambivalent trends in art. It aimed at distracting from the traditional forms of expression and shared the passion of experimenting of the art forms. However, the underlying reason for such changes should be observed from both historical and social perspectives. The disillusionment in the Enlightenment ideas and war experience led to the establishment of the turbulent newly-formed art that sought the goal that was never defined. The research suggests that Modernism originated from the endless line of dissatisfactions with the ideals of the past that became inapplicable to the modern era of technological achievements and class blurring. The artist’s experience within Modernism is “impulsive” and “self-conscious” as the artist should convey the new forms’ search through his / her nature’s demands. Accordingly, the artistic satisfaction within the Modernism trend requires both self-rejection and cliché avoidance to the furthest degree.
The artistic satisfaction in Modernism covered two primary impulses. Firstly, it implied the demand, i.e. compliance with the societal and historical processes of the XX century. Secondly, it should have reflected versatility and search that were the primary criteria of “the quality of art” (Hopkins, 2000, p. 27). Accordingly, the artistic satisfaction is keenly bound to the rejection of the art form and the search of new expressive means. This trend contributed to the popularity of Avant-Garde, Surrealism and Dadaism in the 1960s. The former depiction rules and the realistic expression trends were rejected in favor of the emotional, psychic or musical form. The abandonment of realism and proportions resulted in boosting art forms that neglected shapes, conditions, and trending.
Modernism coexists with the postwar experience of Europe. The horrors of the two great wars resulted in some “austerity” that required new, “positive” art to suit the society. The revocation of primitivism and rural allusions became particular to the early 1950-1960s. The understanding of tradition became equally neglected being attributed to the former religious life of the bourgeoisie. The abandonment of the religious beliefs was equally important to the artists’ search. As any religion sets the rules, their rejection became a crucial task of the Modernist artist. The implied feeling of guilt and self-deficiency found no place in the new postwar world that needed renewal and change.
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Artists in Modernism could not avoid the political changes in the contemporary society. The majority of them adopted the left-wing principles after the 1930s Great Depression. The openness to experiment and the necessity of the emotional projection on canvas resulted in the Modernism boom and large support of the new artists. The growth of internationalism caused excessive borrowing from all the countries of the world that built the eclecticism base. The promotion of “socially accessible American vernacular imagery” became a goal of Modernism (Hopkins, 2000, p. 4). As a result, another key feature of artistic satisfaction in Modernism was a dialogue with the public.
Novelty in Modernism could not emerge without the provocative representation. Materials and canvas changed along with the prior negation of traditions. To some extent, the amount of artistic satisfaction from the piece of art escalated in its ability to set free from the previously established norms. Vincent van Gogh, Paul Cezanne and Paul Gauguin were known not only for their creative works but the celebrity demeanor. The “wilderness” of painting could be compared only with the expressiveness of their lifestyle.
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Modernism artist did not limit the art to a particular inspiration source. Thus, Jackson Pollock borrowed the myth and primitivism trends to achieve the representation of mystical and subconscious perception of the negative aspects of life. Pollock used totems, amalgams, surrealistic visuals, etc. The usage of calligraphy could be observed symbolic as well. Its “untranslatable” nature could be referred to the impossibility of the emotional state description with words (Hopkins, 2000, p. 6). This transfer showed that Modernism demanded the freedom from the analytical abilities of the mind and the focus shift to the subconscious appraisal.
The modernist artist should have become an advocate of freedom and liberation. The concept of the “modern man”, Hopkins explains, was bound to the “alienation and insecurity as the necessary accompaniment of the West’s freedoms” (2000, p. 7). Totalitarian certitude, devotion to the past and sentimentalizing were obsolete. At the same time, that created apparent discomfort in the artist’s soul. As nothing new could be born without the reference to the past, the artist was destined to the internal discomfort in the sea of art turbulence. Similarly, the issue of artist satisfaction became unobtainable owing to the constant search and the absence of emotional peace. For example, Pollock’s irrational paintings could be compared to Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombing that left the unceasing trace in the society (Hopkins, 2000, p. 7-8). The psychic outpouring of the surrounding world on the canvas became an act of emotional purification. In addition, it symbolized the unstable and turbulent state of the contemporary world.
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The modern art aimed at appealing to the society as a whole, especially to the liberal middle-class audiences. As the US was associated with novelties and reforms, its imposing of the artistic authority was apparent. The volatile political movements on the continent, however, contributed to the triumph of Modernism. The passionate political convictions extended to the no less emotional art. The paintings of Schilze, for example, included the stenciled, smeared, tricked or thrown paint on the canvas to project the psychological distress. His Manhattan embodied the rush and bleakness of the large city and its emotional distraction from the individual (Hopkins, 2000, p. 9). This expressiveness and persuasive power of the emotional message was an underlying principle of Modernism.
Modernism became correlated with the social and historical shifts of the society. It originated from the postwar world that was no longer sure of its future that brought out its fears and doubts. Modernism persistently divided itself from the artistic traditions of the past and aspired to the creation of the new expressive forms.
Modernism as art became the embodiment of the restless artist’s soul search. Modernism provided the extensive and unlimited ability of art forms change, materials’ experiments, persuasive power and the artistic challenge. This explains the predominant popularity of Modernism on the both banks of the ocean.
An individual creates Modernistic art as a result of both emotional and social search. The artist’s satisfaction lies within the profound psychological examination and the ability to attach it to the social and societal turbulences of the world. Accordingly, the power of the Modernist artist is the ability to show the two worlds simultaneously. Moreover, he / she is free to use every available material to express it – from canvas to a human body.
To conclude, the artistic experience within Modernism is an endless spiritual journey of finding the harmony in the non-harmonized world. The expressive power depends not only on the talent but the imagination, skill and sensitivity to the artistic trends. Modernism rapidly overlapped the sculpture and painting and turned into the way of life, where every opportunity became available. The Modernist artist, on the one hand, projects his emotional response to the world, on the other, he / she merges with the world to find the consonance with it. Hopkins’ observation of Modernism explained the modern era as a “life after art” when physical reality does not require the perfection anymore. On the contrary, the beauty of Modernism lies in its disproportion and cliché evasion. Accordingly, the success of Modernism and the artistic satisfaction within it lies in the ability to find the beauty in the physical reality.
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