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Color Field Painting

Color Field painting is related to the Abstract Expressionism movement. However, unlike the epic or mythical narratives suggested by Abstract Expressionism, it is characterized by radically simplified abstractions. Color Field painters created tension by working within the limits of the flat surface of the canvas to produce geometric or organic forms that rely on contrasting tones. These issues of form and color often play out on a massive scale, immersing their audience in a vast field of pure pigment with no distinguishable background and foreground. While no less intense, the energy emerging from these paintings can be more logical and analytical than the emotional, works associated with the Abstract Expressionists. There is some overlap between prominent Abstract Expressionists and those considered Color Field artists, such as Helen Frankenthaler and Mark Rothko, while others—including Frank Stella and Kenneth Noland—can be more neatly included in the movement.