Visual art is undoubtedly a powerful medium for self expression, particularly when words are difficult to find. Words can carry many specific meanings, possibly differing vastly depending on the listener, making miscommunications potentially easier to come by. Within art even, working with representational imagery can have its mixed messages— it seems one of the best ways to communicate a complex experience or emotional state could be the one conjured by the Abstract Expressionists, a cast of visionaries who chose to forgo the crutches of familiar subjects in order to invent a more open-ended means of speaking. When pre-inscribed meaning is no longer tethering a creative articulation, the songs that arise can be a remarkable kind of profound.
The term abstract expressionism mostly refers to a handful of American painters, a post–World War II movement developed in New York in the 1940s and the first specifically American movement to achieve international influence, putting New York City at the center of the western art world, a role formerly filled by Paris— though it also includes work from France to Germany, Canada, Russia and Spain amongst others, and as early as 1919. Born from its predecessor surrealism, it appealed to artists interested in spontaneous, automatic, or subconscious creation, fostering an atmosphere of visions and lucid dreaming that could give voice to things perhaps indescribable. The works that came out of this movement are often startlingly resonant, and have an uncanny nature of timelessness— appearing relevant, impassioned and satisfying no matter the time or context.