Action Painting, also known as Gestual Abstraction is a process of painting where you use spontaneously movements to splash, drip, and smear paint on the canvas.
What makes it different from other styles is that you don’t worry about the finished work, you only care about the action of painting itself.
Action painting is as much a result of random chance as it is directed control by the artist who created the work of art.
It’s a paint style where you can express your feelings in the act of painting and the result is always a big surprise.
There is no right and no wrong in action painting. There is a sense of movement from the placement of the paint, however random or chaotic.
In March of 1951, Vogue magazine published a series of fashion photographs by Cecil Beaton and some of Jackson Pollock’s best paintings were used as backdrops for this fashion shoot. These photos were taken in the end of 1950 at Jackson Pollock’s exhibition at Betty Parson Gallery in New York.
The term Action Painting was coined by the art critic Harold Rosenberg when he wrote the article “The American action painters” published in Art News 51/8 Dec. 1952 p.22.
According to Rosenberg the canvas was “an arena in which to act” and this idea is related to the paintings of Franz Kline, Willem de Kooningand Jackson Pollock.
These artists were part of the Abstract Expressionism movement, which had its heyday in 1950s in NY.
The technique of action painting is associated with “Tachisme” in France, a similar post-war art movement.