As I understand it, Siskind was an integral part of the abstract expressionist movement. He exhibited alongside the painters, and there are examples of influence going both ways.
Fredrick Sommer's work always reminds me of earlier art movements. His Arizona landscapes for example are similar in feel to early Mondrian paintings. The chicken bits and the soot pictures are abstract, and expressionist in the German school sense, but for me he is too much cerebral and too little emotional to fit with the New York gang. (I love his work though).
Ralph Eugene Meatyard's landscapes, Zen twigs, light-on-water and sound-and-motion series were all to a greater or lesser extent influenced by abstract expressionism.
Many of Lee Friedlander's more recent landscapes feel very abstract expressionist to me. They are suffused with his own syncopated sense of composition, and retain a very photographic sense of depth, but all the same I get the same sense of frenetic restraint when I stand in front of them that I do from painters like Pollock and Motherwell.
Ray Metzker's work is - for me - a direct descendent of the Siskind/Callahan school, and his book 'Landscapes' is a wonderful example of an abstract expressionist eye applied via a camera.
You can probably guess from that list that I personally feel the strongest connections to the line-based abstract expressionists, and less so to the colour field painters. However, Rothko has undoubtedly bequeathed an acceptibility to large numinous colour prints that has benefited photographers like Richard Misrach, Ben Moon, and the Joel Meyrowitz of Cape Light. There are any number of less famous contemporary photographers who use a similar subtly glowing palette to show their take on the world. For that matter, I have a growing link list of photographers who are making drip paintings with the camera, including myself (see attachment). Barnet Newman's 'zip' paintings opened the door for very many centered-line compositions.
The abstract expressionists' compositional tools and their ways of organising space and tones on the canvas have been very influential to me. In art history the conventional wisdom is that abstract expressionism boxed itself in and died a noisy death down it's own back alleyway. My own feeling is that it was accepted and exalted so early that it quickly became encapsulated and packaged as a ready-made artistic success, making it very hard to develop the movement's ideas without being accused of plagiarism or unoriginality. Perhaps now enough time has passed for that accusation to be less daunting.
Last edited by Struan Gray; 05-27-2008 at 06:02 PM. Click to view previous post history.