Western Painting Style – Hard-Edge – Precisely Classic and Unique

Painting Style

Western Painting Style – Hard-Edge – Precisely Classic and Unique

Hard-edge Art Style – The Concept
Hard-edge painting is a word, coined to describe the ‘Abstract Art’ of geometric orientation. The style lays stress on the depiction of indefinite shapes in vivid colors. It is a style of painting, involving precision and clarity. Crisp demarcations between colored areas mark the Hard-edge art style. The transition in colors mostly occurs along straight lines. However sometimes, color areas with curvilinear edges are also observed in this style. Although, the style was extremely popular in California initially, the Hard-edge art style spread widely in the 1960s.

‘Hard-edge Painting’ is a phrase, put together by art critic Jules Langsner, following an exhibition by four painters, Lorser Feitelson, John McLaughlin, Frederick Hammersley, and Karl Benjamin, in Los Angeles, in 1959. These artists had created the works of geometric nature, delineating various colors, clearly and sharply. The phrase gained popularity after Lawrence Alloway, a British art critic, used the term to talk about American Geometric Abstract Painting that was characterized by the “neatness of surface,” “fullness of color,” and “economy of form.” Other artists associated with this style of painting include Alexander Liberman, Brice Marden, Jack Youngerman, Al Held, and Ellsworth Kelly.

Hard-edge Art Style – The Correlations
The Hard-edge painting style is associated with Color Field Painting, Post-painterly Abstraction, and Geometric Abstraction. The difference between Geometric Abstraction and Hard-edge is that while the former describes creations with several distinct features causing a spatial effect, the later style is used to describe paintings with a small number of, but huge flattish simplified forms with almost no pictorial effects.

Hard-edge – The Intricacies
The Hard-edge Painting style is the one characterized by linear patterns, rigidly demarcated, and may include lines that create a three-dimensional effect on a two-dimensional surface. The instruments used to create these effects and patterns include palette knives, extremely soft & flat paintbrushes, or even rollers for a uniform look. In this style of painting, shapes are defined precisely by sharp edges, which represent a contrast to the soft, fluid, and almost blurred edges, usually seen in Abstract Expressionist paintings. Hard-edge paintings mostly incorporate rich bold colors, characterized by abrupt movement from one color to another, across Hard-edges.

This style has an almost intellectual approach, as compared to the spontaneous and emotional approach seen in Abstract Expressionism. Hard-edge paintings reflect calculated and impersonal feel. These paintings sometimes seem machine generated, owing to their being very precise and explicitly expression in the form of straight lines. Frank Stella aptly described the Hard-edge painting style by saying, “What you see is what you see.”