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Contemporary Oil Painting

Contemporary oil painting can be described as oil paintings produced in the present time but may refer to being current with anytime. A large number of art galleries refer to art produced after World War II when defining contemporary oil paintings.

An interesting phenomenon with contemporary oil paintings is the unique styles that have evolved. No discussion of contemporary oil painting can be complete without an analysis of the recently emerged painting styles. These are;

  • Expressionism: These are oil paintings that emphasize the artist's emotional and psychological state of being, often with 'loud' colors and unconventional forms. This art style begun in the early 20th century and was first employed by German artists.

  • Impressionism: This art movement took its name from a painting by Claude Monet, Impression: Sunrise of 1872.  The impressionist painting style used an expression of subject's color and tone to result in a representative or impressionistic appearance of forms and landscapes. During the period when impressionism emerged there was philosophical revolution of the Realists, pragmatists who believed that, 'nature is all there is and all basic truths are truths of nature'.

  • Formalism: The aesthetic arrangement of shapes, colors, and forms .
    Cubism: This was the first art movement of the 20th century systematically to reconsider the conventions of painting since the Renaissance.  Such work is characterized by the severe flattening of the space across the picture plane.

  • Surrealism: This is a literary and visual art movement interested in unleashing and exploring the potential of the human psyche.  It is loosely based on both Sigmund Freud's and Carl Gustav Jung's investigations into the mind.

  • Pop Art: (Popular Culture)- These are elements of society that are recognized by the general public.  Popular Culture has the associations of something affordable, short-lived and accessible to all. Roy Lichtenstein was one of the first painters to be associated with pop art.

  • Abstract Expressionism:Abstract expressionism is the art movement that primarily keeps to gesture and color while keeping consistent with the aims of formalism.It is common label for the first generation American abstract painting after the Second World War.

The evolution of styles has changed dramatically to the point where some critics question whether indeed some work can be considered as art. Indeed the trend to what can be called art is now astonishing. Take the case of an artist randomly splashing oil paint on a canvas affixed to a ceiling while lying on the floor. Can these be considered art? How much skill does this require? Your guess is as good as mine.


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