hard edge:

Hard edge painting can be identified by the influential, simplified, sharp (or “hard”), ordinarily geometric forms spread across a flat surface. This style of abstract painting was popularized in the 1960s.

Closely related to Color Field Painting and Post-painterly abstraction, hard edge painting presents the best of both worlds, which is interesting considering that post-painterly conception developed as a branch of color field painting.

It seamlessly combines the bold, singular forms of Color Field Painting with the uniform arrangement of geometric abstraction.

Although associated with Californian artists at first, the phrase defines a distinct tendency in today’s art as an abstract painting in the United States. Californian critic Jules Langster coined the term “hard edge painting” in the year 1959.

His terminology defined hard edge painting as the work of abstract painters, specifically on America’s West Coast, who adopted a consciously neutral approach to applying paint and used it to showcase a more gestural form of abstract expressionism.

Clean-edge hues danced across the otherwise monochromatic fields and made the flatness of the surface stand out.

For artists, this was a way to break away from the expressive nature of gestural abstraction. Painters eagerly tried to avoid the dense, post-Cubist ideas of Willem de Kooning’s pieces and chose the diverse, open color fields one would see in a work of Barnett Newman.

Here is what drives passionate minds into the world of hard edge painting: It is pretty different from other forms of geometric abstraction. It rejects both mathematical and lyrical composition as, even in a field as simplified like this, artists must have the space to express themselves personally. Call it the anonymous creation of uncomplicated objects.

Hard-edged geometric abstraction is used to describe the works of artists such as Josef Albers. Some notable artists with an extraordinary contribution to hard edge arts include Frank Stella, Ellsworth Kelly, Sam Gilliam, and William T. Williams.

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