“Art” is defined as (n.) the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power (1).
Art is a huge part of my life, I want to minor in Studio Art and major in Advertising and Graphic Design. I enjoy creating beautiful and thought-provoking pieces. However, I often feel as if art or painting get a bad rap. They are thought to be un-immaginative or unrelated. But, when looking through this blog of American Paintings from the Civil War until present, I encourage viewers to see art as a way of direct reflection of history.
Artists paint what is going on in their lives, whether subconscious or not. I believe most if not every painting during a time period relates exactly to events in history at that time and movements in the artistic world.
After the Civil War, the United States stared seeing the world in a realist view. We started westward expansion and industrialization but also saw the negative impacts from that. We were realists but also impressionistic in hoping for a better future. Blacks were still oppressed, but the government was helping, leading to an impression of how government could change society for the betterment of equality. However, this never truly happened because the government switched from helping the oppressed, to helping those making money off of the new technology. This lead to a social realism throughout American Paintings. With the realism that there was a huge gap in the distribution of wealth, people wanted to be represented and regions effected by the Great Depression were captured in paintings. Soon the war takes hold again, but many changes occur in the social and political realm of the United States throughout World War I and World War II and the Vietnam War. And painters captured these changing moments: the switch from regionalism to abstraction captured the doubt in government during the cold war. But this doubt was immediately combated with abstract expressionism and patriotism. This expressionism and differing from the norm produced a Pop Art movement. Peoples’ ideals about war where changing, and the fundamental ideals of art were as well. With these ideals changing, you get racial and sexual revolutions that spark feminist art movements and through the impact these civil rights movements created, you have modern current art today.
So yes, American painters 100% reflect and parallel the current times during the United States. The Activism and evolution of America is so vast, cultured and emotional, that art is sometimes the only way to capture it all.
(I know this is rough… but I don’t know what to argue or what to add)
1. Google dictionary