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Edward Hopper, Ground Swell 1939 | Art Critique

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Arts
Wordcount: 954 words Published: 18th May 2020

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When we look at art and the artists that either build them or they draw or whatever kind of art it is , there are so many people who look at it and judge it or just don’t even bother looking at but for my essay I decided that I would use “Edward Hopper, Ground Swell 1939” using contextual theory and “John McCracken’s, Silver , 2006” using expressive theory. The three theories that can be used to critique art 1)Contextual Theory- a art that is considered a product of a culture and value system, 2)Formal Theories – focus attention on the composition of the work and how it may have been influenced by earlier works 3)Expressive theories- pay attention to the artists expression  of a personality or worldview (Preble, Preble and Frank, 2004). When we are talking about theories they are formally organized of the work that is done and it’s the most important factor that’s why they call them formal. (Preble, Preble and Frank,2004)

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  Edward hopper was born and raised in Nyack , New York  which is located  near the Hudson River and he was influenced by a middle-class family that pursued him to become a artist. He had received critical recognition of a exhibition held at the Museum of Modern Art.  Before he became a artist he was initially trained to be a illustrator but between 1901 and 1906 he  had studied painting under Robert Henri.  For Edward Hopper’s work “Ground Swell 1939”  it was influenced because Edward had grown up by the Hudson river where there was a very active shipyard. A ground swell is a far-off storm that can be felt even if the sky is sky blue and no clouds insight. Ground swell was a oil painting that was done on canvas. His painting echoed the themes of loneliness and escape I feel like this painting really showed Edwards true colors and explained in art form the War that was taking place.

 In 1939 the culture was influenced by radio and poetry. The radio brought distant events and threats in American homes. The radio was the newest technology. September 1,1939 HiLiter invaded Poland and one poet wrote : “Waves of anger and fear circulate over the bright and darkened lands of the earth (Gupnik,2007) Hoppers painting depicts the subtle waves of anger and fear that everyone was feeling, the buoy in the picture was put there to sound the alarm for what was going to take place.

  John McCraacken was involved with the West Coast school of Minimalism. He is known for his sculptures that  explore the purity of color and form. He went to the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland and then he was a teacher at the School of Fine Arts at the University of Claifornnia . He used layers in lacquer as well as sanding edges to be make geometric shapes.  He is known for his self-titled planks that are made from wood, canvas and steel that are often displayed projecting from a wall..As far as “John McCracken’s work “Silver 2006” the medium used is resin , fiberglass and plywood making it a mixed media piece “ (Preble, Preble and Frank 2004). Although McCracken’s work is influenced by Barnett Newman, he wanted to create 3D work that no one has created. He used the plank idea in a period where artists were combining aspects of painting and sculpture in their work. McCracken’s concept of the plank was to bring existence between two worlds, the floor representing the physical world of standing objects trees, cars. While the wall representing the world of the imagination , illusionist painting space .His technique involved a long and difficult process of painting, sanding, and polishing the polyester resin on each plywood board to achieve a flawless machine-made look. Although “Silver” appears to be simple, one can see that this is truly not the case.

I am glad I choose to use contextual theory to examine “Edward Hopper, Ground Swell 1939” because I was able to understand the culture, history and environmental influences Hopper used in his painting. I wanted to know the history and significance of his work and that is what I got to discover. Expressive theory for “John McCracken Silver, 2006” was able to help me understand how the mixed media and creative process brought forth his deep thinking. I really got to know who and what inspired John McCracken’s work. Learning about the theories made me understand  there are different ways to critique art because without the three different theories, one would not be able to fathom the different dynamics that make art simply art.

Edward Hopper, Ground Swell 1939. National Gallery Of Art

John McCracken Silver, 2006. Art Forms



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