Neo-Expressionism Paintings

Neo-Expressionism (often shortened to Neo-Ex) was a reaction against both Conceptual art and the modernist rejection of imagery culled from art history. Turning their backs on the Conceptual art modes in which they had been trained, the Neo-Expressionists adopted the traditional formats of easel painting and cast and carved sculpture. Turning to modern and premodern art for inspiration, they abandoned Minimalist restraint and Conceptual coolness. Instead their work offered violent feeling expressed through previously taboo means-including gestural paint handling and allegory. Because it was so widespread and so profound a change, Neo-Expressionism represented both a generational changing of the guard and an epochal transition from modernism to postmodernism. It is difficult to generalize about the appearance or content of Neo-Expressionist art. Its imagery came from a variety of sources, ranging from newspaper headlines and surrealist dreams to classical mythology and the covers of trashy novels. The German artists have invoked early-twentieth-century expressionism to deal with the repression of German cultural history following World War II. Some American painters, such as Julian Schnabel, use eclectic historical images to create highly personal and allusive works. Others, such as Sue Coe, refer to contemporary events to create pointed social commentary.