Abstract Expressionism conjures up images of Jackson Pollock dripping paint directly onto canvas but our understanding of the movement is constantly changing. In general, Abstract Expressionist art focuses on the process of making art as much as the art itself. It prioritizes the abstract expression of emotion.
Abstract Expressionism is thought of as a movement that was led by white male painters like Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning but it was also a major platform for women artists like Lee Krasner and Joan Mitchell. Helen Frankenthaler is increasingly being recognized as the absolute master of Abstract Expressionism.
Norman Lewis is another Abstract Expressionist painter who is finally finding the recognition he deserves. A Black man who trained under the women of the Harlem Renaissance, Lewis combined abstract emotionalism with political activism.
Image: Norman Lewis, Alabama (1960). Oil on canvas. 122.6 x 184.5 cm (48 1/4 x 72 5/8 in.). Cleveland Museum of Art.